4 hospitals closing emergency departments

Freestanding emergency departments are becoming more prominent as health systems bolster their outpatient strategies, but emergency departments at some hospitals are disappearing.

In the last four months, Becker's has reported on hospitals in Ohio and Texas that closed their emergency departments and another in Alabama that plans to follow suit. 

The Hospital at Westlake Medical Center in West Lake Hills, Texas, abruptly closed its emergency department Dec. 29. The physician-owned hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 8, citing knock-on effects of the pandemic and the rising costs of labor and supplies as reasons for its decision. The hospital aims to restructure both financially and operationally. 

In Ohio, Kettering Health closed its emergency department at Kettering Health Piqua on Feb. 1. The 15-hospital system said there has been a significant shift in the type of care needed in the last 18 months, leading to fewer "true emergency cases" and a rising demand for other types of care, according to a statement provided to Becker's.

Wahiawa (Hawaii) General Hospital temporarily shut down its emergency department on March 18, due to heating, ventilation and air conditioning issues. The closure will allow the hospital to fix its HVAC system, but a work completion timeline is unclear.

Regional Medical Center Health System plans to end inpatient services at Stringfellow Memorial Hospital in Anniston, Ala., and transition the emergency department to its main hospital campus, which is about a mile away.

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