Oklahoma Hospital Turns To GoFundMe To Remain Open

Pauls Valley Regional Medical Center in Oklahoma has hit a point where operations are almost literally day-to-day, and there is no revenue in sight to help keep the doors open. According to NewsOK, Frank Avignone, the hospital's CEO, has said that they need to come up with about $500,000 to remain open before the week closes. He went on to say that it is possible to maybe convince some of the staff to stay on a day or two beyond running dry, but there is no guarantee of that. Even if employees were willing to stay on a bit longer, there would still be problems finding cash to keep the rest of the hospital running.

Avignone said that the hospital currently has $243,000 in the bank, which should be enough to keep their doors open until Tuesday, but Wednesday will be a great unknown. The $500,000 figure that he arrived at is based on what it will take to pay overdue costs for health benefits, and about half of that even before then to meet payroll. With few options available to raise a significant amount of money in a relatively short time, Avignone decided to try GoFundMe as a bit of a last ditch effort to keep the hospital operational.

The hospital's problems began in 2013 when it was on the cusp of declaring for bankruptcy. That is when NewLight Healthcare, a Texas based company specializing in takeovers of distressed hospitals, stepped in to keep the doors open. They of course don't intervene for free, and the hospital began incurring management fees they owed to NewLight for their guidance in running the facility. The balance on those fees is now estimated to be about $2.3 million.

In 2016, NewLight made an arrangement with Pauls Valley to defer some of the money owed for management fees to relieve their financial stress. As this unfolded, NewLight missed a couple of opportunities to sell the hospital, and had to extend the hospital a loan of $1.05 million in 2017, to remain operational. Pauls Valley had appeared to be getting back on track, but when talks fell through to sell to Alliance Health Partners Oklahoma, NewLight began calling in their debts held for Pauls Valley.

Unable to meet the balloon and ongoing payments on demand made by NewLight, they began tapping the hospital's revenue, making sure that they got paid first. In doing so, the hospital has been bled dry and is possibly in its last week of operation if something doesn't come through to save it. KFOR reported that it is estimated the hospital will need $3 million by the end of the year to stay afloat. The GoFundMe page for the hospital currently shows that a bit under $3,600 of their $2 million goal has been reached.