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Callaway County Chamber of Commerce fights to keep hospital open

The Callaway County Chamber of Commerce said they were fighting to keep the doors at Fulton Medical Center open. (File)

The Callaway County Chamber of Commerce said they were fighting to keep the doors at Fulton Medical Center open.

On July 24, it was announced that the rural Missouri hospital would close by September 22.

Callaway County Economic Development Director Bruce Hackmann said he is hopeful a solution can be found to keep a hospital in Fulton.

"We're a community that should be able to support a hospital," he said. "There's a lot of demand that is there that is not being realized. We have a job ahead of us even if we do find another operator or buyer for that hospital, we have to convince the community that this is their hospital and we have to support it to the level that it needs to be profitable and stay open."

Hackmann said NueHealth, the private company that currently owns the hospital, does not want to see it close, and it is entertaining offers from buyers. He said letters of intent are due next week, which will give the city a better idea on what will be next.

Hackmann said even if a full-service hospital is not able to be maintained, he wants to see the center remain open in some capacity.

"The baseline that any community needs is an emergency room" he said. "We don't consider the emergency room an option. It's a necessity. You have to provide that no matter what. The key is to surround that emergency room service with other services and programs that can be profitable and offset the losses that might occur there."

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