Crosby County residents concerned about clinic changes

Crosby County residents meet to learn about the new operations of their clinic.
Crosby County residents meet to learn about the new operations of their clinic.(Melanie Camacho KCBD)
Updated: Sep. 12, 2019 at 6:41 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A public meeting was held in Crosbyton Wednesday night to explain the changes that Covenant Medical Group has planned for the Crosbyton Clinic. Management plans to replace the physician and two nurse practitioners with just one new nurse practitioner.

Steve Beck, the CEO of Crosbyton Clinic Hospital and a Chief Administrative Officer, said, “Crosbyton will still own the clinic, Covenant Medical Group will provide the staff and manage the new clinic.”

"It’s a small rural community with a declining population with a very poor population. This hospital has struggled for years and it’s really in a difficult spot right now,” Beck said.

Beck said there will be no changes to the hospital, but the new focus will be on the 24-hour EMS and emergency room, which are already in place, but some folks are worried about the elimination of a physician in the clinic.

"Nobody wants to get a new PCP and get adjusted to a new doctor. Doctor Alley has been here forever and it’s hard to not go see Dr. Alley, but he will be now in the ER which will help tremendously,” said Joe Hemlin, a Crosbyton resident who attended the meeting.

Beck says there will be services for patients with symptoms of a cold, the flu, and other common illness, but the menu of services will change, so it will not be exactly like before. He says a person with an issue like diabetes or hypertension, although they may have a specialist in Lubbock, may need to get a PCP.

"We'll assist them with that level of care in Lubbock and our care will be a more minor level of care, “ said Beck. “We’’l be working with this clinic to have electronic records tied in to a number of providers in Lubbock so that they can sometimes get that care in both places.”

He says the lack of volume and declining revenue will often force rural hospitals to close.

“The two drivers for rural health care are lack of volume and lack of financial resources and those are the things that drive our decisions. We have to come up with a model that makes those two work.”

He says that 44 percent of people in Crosbyton are uninsured, so with the few number who pay, the few number who come in, and less money from the state, they have to make changes.

"If we’ve saved one life, we’ve done our job, and this hospital over the years has saved many,” Beck said.

The shift in management under Covenant Medical Group will be complete in a couple of months.

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