The MED needs $32M to keep emergency department open - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The MED needs $32M to keep emergency department open

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Regional Medical Center at Memphis says it may have to close its emergency room if it doesn't get $32 million in additional funding by early next year.

Gene Holcomb, chairman of the board at The Med, said Wednesday that the hospital's board agreed to make the plan public after a closed-door meeting.

"At a minimum, we've got to get people's attention," he said.

Should the board approve the measure, it would then be sent for approval by the Shelby County Commission.

"We are not ogres that want to deprive people of services," Holcomb said. "We know this is going to hurt people. We know that."

Holcomb said the money is needed because the hospital is already operating at a deficit.

"The bottom line is: we've gotta have the money," he said. "We're burning a million dollars a day and somebody's gotta pay for it. We've improved efficiency."

The 370-bed hospital - often simply referred to as The Med - has the major trauma, burn and newborn intensive care units in the Memphis region.  Officials say those programs will not be affected if the emergency room closes.

Holcomb says the Med is fighting for proper re-imbursement for treating patients from Arkansas and Mississippi.

"That would go a long way toward fixing the problem," Holcomb said. "If we got our fair share from Arkansas and Mississippi, and a little more from the county, we would be there."

The 13-member hospital board will vote on this proposal sometime late next week.  Then the full Shelby County Commission must consider and vote on the proposal.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  The AP contributed to this story.

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