Saturday, January 19News That Matters

Employees, citizens struggle for answers after hospital closing

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. (KXII) When Pauls Valley City Council voted to close Pauls Valley Regional Medical Center on Friday, it left thousands in Garvin County without local medical care and more than 100 people without jobs.

On Saturday, the hospital’s Facebook page said to direct all questions to the Pauls Valley Hospital Authority, but gave no specific contact information.

Khrisda Decker worked in the emergency room and said she and many of her coworkers had not been able to reach the authority.

“I understand the hospital had to be closed down,” Decker said. “I understand that. It was a decision that had to be made. But, how they went about it, I feel like they are just blowing us off.”

Decker said she had not been paid since early October and all the employees were supposed to be paid on Monday.

“It did not happen and nobody knows when,” Decker said. “And I’m really upset right now.”

Decker is a single parent and is worried about not being able to pay her bills and care for her son.

Lisa Elliott is a Wynnewood native and former employee who left the hospital in September to take a job in Norman as a medical assistant.

In a phone interview, she said she feels pain for all the employees, especially single parents and couples who worked at the hospital.

“It’s hard when you don’t get a paycheck and you put your time into something that you love so much,” Elliott said.

Elliot said she was disappointed and shocked when she heard the hospital was closing.

“I’m so scared that somebody’s going to die because they can’t get to a hospital soon enough,” Elliott said.

Monday afternoon, News 12 reached out to Pauls Valley Mayor Gary Alfred, who is also the chairman for the Pauls Valley Hospital Authority, but News 12 did not get a response.

The hospital posted on its Facebook page Monday afternoon that Oklahoma Works will provide transitional workshops on Thurs. Oct. 18 at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Reynolds Recreation Center in Pauls Valley to help former hospital employees find new jobs.

Pauls Valley police said it has arranged for a Wadley’s EMS ambulance to stay in the city until Tues. Oct. 23, but no word what will happen after that.

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