White County Medical Center, Carmi, Ill., transferred its few remaining patients to neighboring hospitals and closed its doors, officials said. The 25-bed critical-access hospital suffered cash-flow problems after the CMS sought repayment of $1 million in alleged Medicare overpayments, hospital Finance Director Herschel Breig said. White County Medical was not able to meet payroll in recent months and began losing staff, Breig said. The hospital also was unable to recruit physicians to the rural area in Southern Illinois and saw its average daily patient census dip to two. "It became apparent that we could not clinically staff the hospital, and we decided to close it before putting patients in jeopardy," Breig said. The former county hospital was sold in 2000 to for-profit Cornerstone Health Care, Louisville, Ky., which doesn't own other hospitals. The hospital earned $190,000 on $10.9 million net patient revenue in 2004, according to the American Hospital Directory. Breig said White County Medical employed more than 120 people until it closed an adjacent nursing home eight months ago. About 80 people will lose their jobs with the hospital's closing. -- by Mark Taylor
Southern Ill. critical-access hospital shuts down
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