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Community steps up for Fairfax hospital staff

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 18:55:34-04

FAIRFAX, Okla. — They're still not getting a paycheck, but the local courts and now their friends and neighbors are pitching in to keep the community hospital open in Fairfax.

Kathy Brock has been a nurse at Fairfax Community Hospital for 40 years.

Kathy and the other 59 employees have gone more than two months without a paycheck.

"It's been very trying," Brock said.

Not only have their paychecks disappeared, so have most of their health benefits.

Monica Woods has worked at the hospital for 15 years and her mother before her.

“I grew up here,” Woods said. “I came and sat in the lobby and waited on my mom to get off work."

The Florida company that owned the hospital was ordered a few weeks ago by an Osage County judge to turn over operations to the Fairfax Community Foundation.

The court declared the company abandoned the hospital, and the employees were holding it together for the sake of their community.

The city is hoping they'll be able to pay hospital staff by the end of the month.

"We have faith that we're going to meet that March 29 deadline to pay them from the point and time this thing fell into receivership,” vice mayor Charlie Cartwright said.

Meanwhile, local businesses are gathering food and personal items for hospital employees, senior citizens are bringing them meals, and townspeople are donating money to pay the personal utility bills for staff.

"People are doing what they can to help because the employees have always helped us,” said Carol Conner, editor of the Fairfax Chief newspaper.

The Fairfax Healthcare Authority is waiting for the courts to decide all the legal matters concerning the hospital. In the meantime, it has hired a consultant to make sure it is up to date on all of the licensing and regulations.

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