Rural Texas hospital CEO fights to reopen it as state faces most closures in US

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There have been 24 rural hospital closures in Texas since the start of 2004. This is how one small East Texas hospital CEO is fighting to reopen its doors, according to an April 22 PBS report.

Grand Saline, Texas-based Van Zandt Regional Hospital is not just where CEO Randy Lindauer works — it's where he lives. The Indiana native has managed to revive rural hospitals in Kansas, Indiana, Florida and West Virginia. The East Texas hospital, which serves 56,000 residents, is his current project.

The hospital CEO made the hospital his home so that he is always there in case of an emergency. He has been renovating the hospital in hopes it can reopen after its closure in 2019.

"I'm here 24/7 because you never know when a pipe is going to break and, when you're here always, you want a place to lay your head," Mr. Lindauer told PBS.

The 50-bed hospital was purchased in 2020, and Mr. Lindauer was brought in to resuscitate it.

Texas hospitals in rural communities have been struggling, with the highest number of closures in the country. Since 2005, 24 rural hospitals have closed, and 85 counties in Texas do not have a hospital.

Don McBeath with the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals said: "It's very challenging to reopen a hospital; there's been very few successful reopenings. The problem is, when a hospital closes, people develop relationships with different doctors, different hospitals. And there's an inherent distrust that the hospital might not make it again."

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