Community hospital in danger of closing

LIBERTY COUNTY, TX A big debt means the Liberty-Dayton Community Hospital in Liberty could be closed in as little as 30 days. It's the only hospital for miles.

Even though things have stayed the same at City barber shop for half a century, customers know change is coming to Liberty's only hospital down the street.

"I wouldn't be surprised if this owner leaves because the past owners have left," said Liberty resident Barry Hughes.

The Liberty-Dayton Community Hospital's owner, Frontier Healthcare, says doors will close within 30 days unless a buyer is found.

"A lot of people depend on this hospital being here, so I think it would be a tremendous impact on the community if it did close," said Liberty resident Yolanda Johnson, who was visiting a patient there.

President of the Liberty County Hospital District Bruce Stratton isn't surprised.

"This hospital has always been in trouble," he said.

The Liberty County Hospital District was formed just three years ago to try to save the hospital. It's in negotiations right now to buy it from Frontier. If the negotiations fail, the closest hospital is in Cleveland, more than 30 miles away.

"Sometimes people may not be able to live that 35 or 40 minutes it would take to get them to another hospital," said Stratton. "That hospital has saved a lot of lives."

For now, the 25-bed hospital continues to operate. And for rural residents who have no other options, they hope efforts to save it are successful.

"It's been here for years. It needs to stay here," said former patient Sam Parker "It's a community hospital. People depend on it."

The Liberty County Hospital District says it's optimistic an agreement can be reached.

You can read more about the hospital closure on the Cleveland Advocate, our Houston Community Newspaper partner.

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