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Concerns raised about financial fate of Arkansas hospital

Posted at 7:53 PM, Dec 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-23 20:53:19-05

DE QUEEN, Ark. (AP) -- Some workers and community leaders have raised concerns about the financial viability of an Arkansas hospital amid late paychecks and recent layoffs.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday that paychecks expected Dec. 14 weren't distributed until Friday for staff of De Queen Medical Center.

Elected officials, business leaders and emergency responders met Wednesday to discuss contingency plans in case the hospital closes. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy says everybody in De Queen, a town of about 6,600, is concerned about De Queen Medical Center.

The hospital and its parent company, Missouri-based EmpowerHMS, didn't immediately return messages for comment.

The newspaper reports EmpowerHMS recently has been late in meeting payrolls, rent and utility bills at its sites in Tennessee, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The Arkansas Department of Labor is conducting an open wage investigation.