Tonopah, NV Without Emergency Services
After years of financial struggles, Nye Regional Medical Center of Tonopah, Nevada closed on Friday, August 21, 2015. The closest healthcare facility is over an hour’s drive from the hospital, and this fact is leaving local residents in Tonopah very worried.
Board members from the 10 bed medical center have been in contact with state and national government officials, including Democratic Senator Harry Reid.
Tonopah is approximately halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, about 200 miles from each city. Nye Regional Medical Center served Nye and Esmirelda Counties, and the areas around those counties.
The move made by Nye Regional Medical Center is just another incident of the string of rural hospital closures that have happened in recent years in the United States.
Long History of Revenue Issues
Due to several years of decreased revenue, Nye Regional Medical Center filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013. As a result of that, local officials worked hand in hand with the hospital to try to keep the hospital open.
The hospital had tried to arrange for other hospitals to partner with them, but were not successful. Reasons cited were that Nye Regional Medical Center is a small hospital, and that it’s located far from any large urban centers.
Another idea that was attempted, was asking local businesses to help cover the hospital’s costs. In spite of several business owners obliging to the plan, it ultimately failed.
“NRMC has struggled financially for the past several years,” said hospital CEO Wayne Allen. “The hospital operations cannot be sustained any longer with expenses greater than revenues. In an effort to save the hospital we have tried to arrange partnerships/affiliations with other healthcare operations. These efforts have been unsuccessful due to our small size and remote location. We are out of options, time and funding.”
Tonopah Left With Few Healthcare Options
Following the closure of Nye Regional Medical Center, Tonopah is left with no emergency care services. There is a local doctors office, but it’s not capable of handling any real medical trauma. Now residents will have to travel between as far as 100 miles to the closest emergency room.
“This is a tragic loss for the population served by our hospital,” said Allen. “This is a decision that will ultimately jeopardize the health and well being of our community and surrounding areas. We are hopeful that another health care entity will see this lack of access to health care as an opportunity.”
Emergency Plans Enacted
With Nye Regional Medical Center having closed, the Nye County Emergency Management has put several emergency initiatives into place. This includes increasing the number of EMT’s, ambulances and medical transport planes in Nye County.
Additionally, Nye County has arranged with some of the hospitals that will now be employed, to have ambulatory care meet potential emergency patients halfway to the hospitals. This was established to get patients to at least some mode of healthcare in the shortest time possible. A the same time, Tonopah officials are looking for a long term solution.