Winkler County Memorial Hospital Needs Help From County To Operate.

Winkler County Memorial Hospital Needs Help From County To Operate.

by: Justin Kree

NewsWest 9


Low number of patients at Winkler County Memorial Hospital means the county has to step in to keep the hospital operating.

"We're required to have so much cash coming in every month. If we don't meet it because of patient census or income then the Commissioners have to offset it," Winkler County Memorial Hospital Administrator, John Clark said.

The hospital was granted $125,000 from the county. John Clark tells NewsWest 9, that the hospital is going to need another $300,000.

"Bottom line, we need about $700,000 a month to operate," Clark said

Clark says he doesn't like asking the county for money. He would like to be 100% independent..

"We don't like doing it. It's not fun, but it's a necessity. We have a very supportive community, a very supportive Commissioners Court. Ideally I would like to have a lot more patients so I don't have to ask," Clark said.

Clark tells us that the population in the county is growing. The elderly are not moving in, only young people. While most hospitals depend on medicare to help pay the bills, Winkler County Memorial doesn't see the same number of elderly like other hospitals.

"We have an upside down mix here. We are growing in the sense we have a lot of people moving in, but it's younger. That changes the financial makeup of the patients seen in our ER.

Overall, rural hospitals don't see the patient numbers like urban hospitals. A problem that's happening all over the nation. Clark tells us if the hospital wasn't in Kermit, that's when Kermit would need the hospital.

"We had a very, very slow summer. Which is good for the community, but bad for both the clinic and the hospital," Clark said.

The hospital is hopeful that the fall and winter months will bring more patients in for treatment.