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Archive for June, 2013

(West Plains) – Ozarks Medical Center has announced that, due to federal regulations, an increase in charity care payments, and a drop in reimbursement, approximately 32 jobs will be cut from the hospital system, with another 12 open spots not being filled.

OMC president and CEO David Zechman spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us what lead to the cuts:


Zechman continued, saying that Congress and Missouri legislature has put them in an undesirable position:


Because of this, Zechman says that the hospital has cut around 32 jobs, on top of other cost-cutting measures:


Other cost-cutting measures include a 5% pay reduction for management and a decrease in some hours in particular positions.

Despite the changes, Zechman says that the hospital will continue to provide quality care to the region:


Zechman says that at this time, there are no plans to reduce services, however he says that could change after the federal health care law is enacted in October.

(Washington) – The unemployment rate for the Missouri region is up for all local counties except one.

Numbers from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center say that Shannon County saw an unemployment rate drop from 9.8% in April 2013 to 9.4% in May 2013, with 2,869 people listed as employed in May compared to 2,725 in April. The labor pool in Shannon County also increased over the last month by 146, from 3,021 to 3,167 in May. 298 were listed as unemployed.

Unemployment in Howell County was up from 6.2% in April to 6.6% in May. 17,901 were listed as employed in May, compared to 17,796 in April. Howell County’s labor pool increased from 18,974 to 19,158 in May, with 1,257 listed as unemployed in May, compared to 1,178 in April.

Unemployment in Oregon County is up to 7.2% in May, compared to 6.4% in April. 4,376 were listed as employed in May, compared to 4,309 in April. The labor pool increased from 4,606 in April to 4,716 in May. 340 were listed as unemployed in Oregon County in May, compared to 297 in April.

In Texas County, unemployment increased to 6.9% in May, up .7% from April’s 6.2%, with a total of 795 people listed as unemployed in May, compared to 708 in April. The labor pool in Texas County increased from 11,387 in April to 11,604 in May. 10,809 were employed in the county in May, compared to 10,679 in April.

Unemployment increased in Wright County from 6.1% in April to 6.4% in May, with 583 listed as unemployed in May, compared to 540 in April. The labor pool increased by 190 people in May, up from 8,902 in April to 9,092 in May. 8,509 were listed as employed in May, compared to 8,362 in April.

In Douglas County, unemployment increased from 5.9% in April to 6.4% in May. 429 were listed as unemployed in May, compared to 388 in April, with 6,279 employed in May and 6,162 in April. The labor pool in Douglas County increased from 6,550 to 6,708.

Unemployment in Ozark County increased from 6.8% to 7.3%, with 322 listed as unemployed in May, compared to 294 in April. The labor pool increased from 4,294 in April to 4,430 in May. 108 people became employed in that month, with the employment number jumping from 4,000 in April to 4,108 in May.

(Bakersfield) – A teenager from Bakersfield suffered moderate injuries Thursday night after the vehicle he was driving ran off-road and overturned.

16-year-old Keean Marsh was taken by private vehicle to Baxter Regional Medical Center, and later taken to Mercy Hospital in Springfield.

The accident happened around 9:45 PM on Route AR, about a mile south of Bakersfield.

(Little Rock) (AP) – Fears among landowners that designating the White River as a National Blueway could lead to new regulations or land seizures has prompted three Arkansas agencies to dampen their support for the label.

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas Waterways Commission said at a Wednesday legislative hearing that the Blueway designation could hinder conservation work with landowners who don’t want federal interference.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the Nature Conservancy and Ozark Water Watch expressed similar sentiments.

Natural Resources Commission Executive Director Randy Young says he will ask the U.S. Interior Department to lift the designation, at least until landowners can be satisfied that their interests won’t be harmed.

(West Plains) – The annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock-Up was held Thursday at Skillets Cafe in West Plains, and Jerry Bear, the executive director of the Springfield MDA, says that they raised over $30,000 in donations and pledges:


The annual telethon event held in Springfield, called “A Show of Strength”, will be held September 1. Bear says that the event will be a little different this year than in years prior:


Bear says a final total and the “Top 10 Jailbirds” will be released either today or next week.

(Mountain Home) – Three people were injured Thursday afternoon after a head-on collision in Mountain Home.

The accident happened at 12:18 PM at the Highway 62 Bypass at Highway 178, when the eastbound vehicle driven by 38-year-old Chester Shepherd of Mountain Home crossed the center line of Highway 62 and hit a westbound vehicle driven by 68-year-old Donald Hurst of Norfork, AR head-on.

The two drivers and a passenger in Shepherd’s vehicle, 32-year-old Brandy Woods, suffered injuries and were taken to Baxter Regional Medical Center.

(West Plains) – The weather reporting station at West Plains Regional Airport in Pomona is now operational, according to Airport Manager Jack Bowman and Tourism Director Todd Shanks.

Bowman said the station, which has been shut down due to the construction of a terminal building at the airport, has been temporarily housed at another location during the construction process. Pilots can also receive their weather information from air frequency 123.825.

Bowman wanted to thank the public for its patience during this process, and apologized for any inconvenience caused by the outage.

(Mountain Home) – A rural Mountain Home woman has been arrested on forgery charges.

24-year-old Jessica Whitson was arrested Wednesday on felony Forgery charges. A report from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office states that on May 17, a woman reported her check book had been stolen and several checks were written and cashed for a total of $1,850.

Whitson was arrested, and released after posting a $5,000 bond.

(Houston) – The Texas County Memorial Hospital (TCMH) board members discovered at their monthly meeting on Tuesday June 25 that they will be dealing with a $1.4 million hit to the hospital’s bottom line.

According to Wes Murray, TCMH CEO, it’s because Medicaid was not expanded by the state government this session, and TCMH will not be receiving any type of payment to offset the high number of Medicare and Medicaid patients they provide for.

In the past, TCMH had been receiving additional federal dollars due to the number of Medicaid patients seen at the hospital through a disproportionate share program known as DSH. In 2012 $1.2 million of DSH funds were taken from TCMH. The additional funds are going away under the Affordable Care Act.

The lack of DSH funds from the Affordable Care Act is projected to account for an additional $1.1 million hit to the hospitals bottom line this year.

Medicaid expansion in the state of Missouri was supposed to ease the blow of losing the DSH funds, but since state legislators did not pass Medicaid expansion legislation during the spring session, it will not be happening.

Murray shares that the sequestration of the federal government has also resulted in a two percent reduction in Medicare payments which reaches a total of approximately $300,000 annually. TCMH has already begun a monthly loss of around $116,600 because of these recent cuts.

To make up for some of the latest losses, there is a plan in place including the recent transition of the TCMH Fitness Center being handed over to the Houston Optimist Club, and other cuts in services are also currently being considered.

(Little Rock) (AP) – Members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation say they still oppose gay marriage despite the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and clearing the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California.

The state’s congressmen and senators said Wednesday they still support the amendment Arkansas voters approved in 2004 defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Justices on Wednesday tossed out a part of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits. The court didn’t rule on California’s same-sex marriage ban, leaving in place a trial court’s ruling that it’s unconstitutional.

Opponents of Arkansas’ ban said they hoped the decision would help change minds about the issue.