Cash-strapped Oklahoma hospital raises enough money to make payroll, stay open for now

After launching a GoFundMe campaign and asking the community for donations to prevent the facility from closing, Pauls Valley (Okla.) Regional Medical Center raised enough money to make payroll and stay open — for now, according to a News OK report.

While the hospital still faces financial hurdles, it received an outpouring of pledges on its Facebook page and a few donations through GoFundMe, enough to meet payroll this week and extend the life of the hospital for a few more days.

The rural hospital needed $243,000 to make payroll by Tuesday, and it needs another $430,000 to pay overdue costs for employee health benefits, according to the hospital's CEO Frank Avignone.  After employee benefits are funded, the hospital is looking to secure $1.5 million more in donations to keep it afloat as it works through a legal battle.

Although rural hospitals across the country are struggling financially, Pauls Valley Hospital's situation is a bit different. Due to a legal tie up, Pauls Valley won't receive any revenue for the care it provides until it pays off its debt to the hospital's previous owner.

The previous owner, Austin, Texas-based NewLight Healthcare, claims Pauls Valley owes it $2.3 million in management fees and loans it never repaid before transitioning ownership. Pauls Valley claims NewLight Healthcare caused about $2 million in damages through mismanagement and establishing poor relationships with community physicians.  

Mr. Avignone said he has no immediate plans to close the hospital

If the hospital does shut down, the nearest hospital would be 30 miles to 40 miles away, according to the hospital's GoFundMe page.

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