Bowie Hospital Works To Trim Budget

Hospital leaders in Bowie are faced with tough choices. Voters Saturday shot down a proposal that would have created a Bowie Memorial Hospital District. The proposal added a property tax increase to fund the hospital. Now, the hospital is faced with dealing with a tough budget. The fiscal year ends June 30, and discussions are already under way on how to trim the numbers without cutting services.

"We'll start meeting with our Board of Trustees, our Physicians, myself and all of our Employees and we'll start sharing our thoughts and finalize our strategic plan to move forward," said CEO Kim Lee. Lee says the plan is to cut what they can that won't affect patients. "We will first look at our operational expense and see if there are places we can reduce without reducing our services yet."

There is worry among some in town of what healthcare in Southern Montague County would be like without Bowie Memorial Hospital. The hospital is not dealing with closing immediately. "No, its not going to close tomorrow, but its going to start spiraling down because when you start losing services you start losing patients," Lee said Friday.

One of the people most concerned with the hospital's future is Bowie Resident Ann Campbell. Campbell said the hospital saved her husband's life two separate times. "He had an allergic reaction, and if we hadn't of gotten him to Bowie when we did, I don't know what would have happened," said Campbell. The couple was living in Montague at the time. After they moved to Bowie, Mr. Campbell suffered a minor stroke. "I don't think he would have made it if we would have gone to Decatur or somewhere else," she recounted.

Campbell's biggest fear is not having Bowie Memorial Hospital to call upon in medical emergencies. Lee says the hospital will do everything they can to keep that from becoming a reality. "None of our decisions will jeopardize our quality of care," she said.

Some of the cuts currently on the table include supply expenses and employee benefits. Lee said Monday there is no current discussion of cutting jobs.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6