A Siouxland community is facing the reality of losing emergency - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

A Siouxland community is facing the reality of losing emergency health care services

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TILDEN, Neb. (KTIV/US92) - The community of Tilden, Nebraska has enjoyed inpatient and emergency services at their city hospital for years but dwindling patient numbers have forced city officials to make a difficult decision.

The Tilden City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to give officials at the Tilden Community Hospital permission to cease inpatient and emergency services at their facility effective July 1st. Hospital leaders say there were a number of factors that went into making the difficult recommendation.

Lon Knievel, Tilden Community Hospital Director said, "We are a very small, rural hospital. We're limited on the scope of emergencies and diagnoses that we can take care of. Our window of what we can service here in a very small, rural hospital has become shallower."

The move will mean the loss of 35 jobs at the hospital which has been Tilden's largest employer. Residents filled the City Auditorium Tuesday in the hopes of persuading the City Council to find some other way. But officials with the hospital say they're losing $60,000 a month, and they don't see that changing any time soon.

"The board didn't want to give up. They wanted to keep fighting. But we continually had to keep going back to the facts; the data. We will not survive. We won't survive health care changes," Knievel said.

While the immediate future is uncertain, the hospital board is expected to enter into negotiations for a lease agreement with Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk which would allow for the facility to provide some form of health care past this July.

"We want to maintain health care services. There's still a big need in town. It just won't be on an in-patient basis," Knievel said.

The specifics of the new arrangement for the Tilden Community Hospital will be hashed out over the next few months. But everyone involved says they're committed to keeping some type of high-quality health care in Tilden.

One of the specifics that will need to be arranged will be EMS services for Tilden residents who have emergencies after hours and may need to travel over 20 miles to an emergency room.

Faith Regional officials said they'd be willing to work out an arrangement to have that type of care provided in Tilden in the future.

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