Communities adjust after closure of McKenzie Regional Hospital

HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. — One local community is adjusting after the recent closing of their hospital.

“One of our main concerns I think are the babies that used to be delivered at McKenzie Regional Hospital,” McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland said. “In a year we could have upwards to 300.”

After McKenzie Regional Hospital closed last September, surrounding hospitals such as Henry County Medical Center have seen a spike in patients, particularly newborns.

“It’s hard on them, but at the same time you have to adapt,” Mayor Holland said.

And they have done just that.

“We are ready, willing and able to serve the patients and families of the surrounding counties,” chief nursing officer Neely Ashby said.

Many of the staff from McKenzie Regional Hospital transferred to Henry County Medical Center.

“As far as our nursing staff, we were able to absorb some of the really good, experienced staff from McKenzie that came over,” Women’s Center Director Rhonda Crossett said. 

“It was definitely a huge adjustment, just going from one facility to another, but we’ve been welcomed,” former McKenzie Regional employee Maranda Matney said. “Everyone has accepted us, and I think we’re doing really well. We’ve integrated pretty well with the staff that was already here.”

The transition for patients may be more difficult, and a lack of proper insurance may have them traveling even farther for treatment.

“If the mother does not have a corporate or commercial insurance program, then they will not deliver those babies,” Mayor Holland said.

“I know there are some questions about insurance coverage,” Ashby said. “We take all forms of TennCare here at our hospital, and we have a business office that would be more than happy to speak with anyone that has any questions.”

Mayor Holland says she is concerned about emergency situations and whether the distance of travel could mean the difference between life and death for McKenzie residents.

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