At the end of April, the Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett, a town of about 10,000 in Missouri’s Bootheel, became the latest in a growing number of rural hospitals to announce it is closing.
The surprise announcement will leave a swath of rural southeast Missouri without an OB-GYN, forcing expectant moms to change their birth plans at the last minute. That’s a particularly troubling development in an area that has the worst birth outcomes in Missouri and one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the U.S.
In response, five physicians, the State of Missouri and a hospital in a neighboring county have worked together to ensure vital health care services are still available in the area.
Dr. Nelson Perez, an OB-GYN who’s on the hospital’s board and has served as chief of staff for more than a decade, said the news took him by surprise. Perez points out that the hospital is owned by Community Health Systems, a Fortune 500 company, and turned a profit each year.
Read more: KBIA