'Save Copper Basin Medical Center!!': Rural hospital seeks to raise $100,000 on GoFundMe

In the past 10 days, a rural critical access hospital in Copperhill, Tenn., has halted inpatient care, laid off at least 15 nurses and activated a GoFundMe page in hopes to raise $100,000.

At the time of this story's publication, the nonprofit, 21-bed hospital received donations from eight people over eight days, totaling $425. Along with gifts ranging from $25 to $100, donors shared messages of support: "Let's save our hospital!!" "Please donate to this important cause!!"

"The next 45 days will be our most critical period for survival of Copper Basin Medical Center," wrote CFO Tim Henry on the GoFundMe page. "We have endured needed staff reductions and are critically short on supplies."

Mr. Henry told the Times Free Press he and his colleagues hope to secure enough funding to reopen inpatient services by October, when the next fiscal year begins. Outpatient services are still available at the hospital.

The Times Free Press also reports that Copper Basin Medical Center has offered patients with past-due accounts a "two-for-one special." Per mailing letters dated May 10 from the hospital, patients can earn a credit that matches the amount paid this month toward their overdue bills. "Please take advantage of this opportunity to significantly reduce your hospital account balance and provide much needed help to Copper Basin Medical Center," the letter reads.

The hospital suspended its inpatient services May 9 and terminated employment of over 15 nurses, according to WRCBTV. At the time the nurses were laid off, some were still waiting for paychecks for up to the last four weeks of work.

Last June, the staffing agency that provided Copper Basin Medical Center's ER physicians cut ties after claiming the hospital did not pay clinicians for six weeks. A local report from May 2016 state the hospital was behind on bills and insurance premium payments and was borrowing money to meet payroll.

Becker's has reached out to Copper Basin Medical Center and will update this story as more information becomes available.

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