The residents made it clear that cramming into a hot room, with standing room only, was just the beginning of what they're willing to do to see Cozby-Germany Hospital open their doors again.
GRAND SALINE, TX (KLTV) -
Residents in Grand Saline are determined to reopen their local hospital after it closed down last week. The hospital has a history of financial problems and just closed after an in-depth inspection revealed problems with hospital paperwork. Board members say the discrepancies had nothing to do with the quality of care.
Cozby-Germany Hospital is on the western side of Grand Saline. That's north of Canton. Now that the hospital is closed, the nearest hospital is more than a half hour away in Quitman.
In a crowded community room, more than 100 concerns citizens expressed why it's important for the hospital to re-open. The residents made it clear that cramming into a hot room, with standing room only, was just the beginning of what they're willing to do to see Cozby-Germany Hospital open their doors again.
"I will-- my family will-- do anything we can do get this hospital back open," says Frankie Phillips.
For Phillips, the hospital wasn't just where she worked. It's where her husband was treated after a serious fall, where her son was born and where her mother's life was saved when she was shot.
"If it wasn't for the staff, the hospital, the doctors and the grace of God, I wouldn't have had my mother as long as I did," says Phillips.
Others testified that they're here today because the hospital's doors were open when they needed it.
Trish Elliott, the Superintendent of Grand Saline Independent School District says the hospital is vital for children with asthma, diabetes and serious allergies.
"When you send your children to school, you want to know we're taking care of them. We want to have a place that we can provide that care, so it's very concerning to us that we can lose this hospital," says Elliott.
The roughly 70-year-old hospital has had its doors locked for nearly a week and re-opening them won't be easy. To help, the hospital board members are bringing in an international consultant group, Noble Healthcare International.
"We'll be working with [the community] over the next few months to help develop and deploy their strategies to try to move forward as quickly as they can to try to get the hospital reopened," says John Nickens, Noble Healthcare International CEO.
He says they will also be working with state agencies and politicians. However, Nickens adds, this movement can only happen if the community makes it happen.
"They found themselves in an unfortunate situation, and they decided to be positive and move forward and look at how they can remedy that. This turnout today is a big indicator of how much support this particular board is going to have in getting the job done," Nickens says.
About 70 hospital employees are also currently out of work.
"We're unemployed and we still have to survive somehow. It was very tear-jerking, but we have each other," says Lena Deck, a Cozby-Germany Hospital employee.
For the community, it's clear that Cozby-Germany is more than just a hospital.
"How many hospitals will you find that the employee would clock out and go sit with a patient while they're dying? That says a lot about what you get from a small hospital that you don't get from a large one," says Deck.
"I can't imagine this community without the hospital," says Frankie Phillips.
If you'd like to stay up to date with the community's efforts to save the hospital, you can join their facebook group, here.
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