The impending closure of McKenzie Regional Hospital has caused an increase in patients and staff at neighboring Henry County Medical Center.

Lisa Casteel, HCMC administrator, told the hospital’s Long Range Planning Committee Thursday that the two biggest increases in patients would be in obstetrics, or OB, and emergency room services.

McKenzie’s OB and ER will close Aug. 31, with surgery closing on Sept. 3. The hospital itself will close Sept. 15.

Since the closure was announced, Casteel has met with McKenzie physicians, as well as McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland.

Both hospitals have been working to make the transfer of OB-GYN patients as seamless as possible, Casteel said.

HCMC has also filled several vacancies, including OB and surgery nurses, housekeeping and registration employees.

The Paris hospital now has a full staff in its OB department.

“Wherever we had openings, we were glad to hire people,” she said.

Casteel has also forwarded information on setting up a rural health clinic, similar to Eastwood Clinic, which could allow McKenzie physician clinics to supply after-hours medical services to compensate for the loss of the hospital’s emergency room.

“We’re just offering to be helpful in any way that we can,” Casteel said.

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