Hospital Epidemic Getting First Aid

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Rural communities are sick over the situation. Weems Hospital, which came inches away from shutting down, is now costing the county nearly $100,000 every week.

Gadsden's hospital is closed, scraping dollars together to reopen. A Gretna clinic was also shut down. Hospitals in major cities want to stop the epidemic before it reaches their doors.

Warren Jones, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital spokesperson, says, "When the hospital in Gadsden closed we saw around 30 more patients on a weekend day than we normally would have seen, so it does impact us significantly."

The Florida Legislature is trying to find a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

Warren Jones adds, "Studies have shown if you're injured the best place to seek help is close to home."

Three bills are running through the Capitol. One that's gained the most local support is House Bill 7215.

Rep. Will Kendrick, (D) District 10, Florida, says, "The Department Agency for Health Care would actually create criteria which would sort of streamline how the money is given, what amount and on what basis it would be given."

If it sounds confusing it’s because it's a complicated process, but basically an oversight agency would look at the crisis and decide which hospitals need the money the most. Then, grants would be handed out to the hospitals with the most need.

Still, legislators have yet to address the bills in either the Senate or the House, and the new budget won't be appropriated until July.