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      Hospital announces closure just hours before it happens

      Although the Calhoun Memorial Hospital made a last ditch effort to keep their doors open by laying off 29 employees in January, the hospital announced it will be closing its doors at 3 p.m. Friday.

      Hospital CEO Earl Whiteley spoke with Fox 31 saying they tried multiple options from refinancing their debt to making cuts but it wasn TMt enough to keep the hospital from running out of funds.

      The decision was made during Thursday night TMs hospital authority board meeting, where an agreement to have Miller County take over the day-to-day operation of the Rural Health Clinic on the property was made.

      Whiteley says the debt finally became too much to handle after the passing of the Affordable Care Act and predicts many other hospitals will face the same fate as his.

      60 employees will be jobless at 3 p.m. but around 11 people will stay on board to help pay bills, collect money from patients, offer medical records to anyone who wants to get them, keep up the landscaping and sell the facility.

      Whiteley says at around 4-6 months from now that number of employees will drop to two or three people until the facility is sold. He says it TMs a sad day for many but thinks the closures will continue for others in the future.

      Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!