Panola Medical will end labor, delivery service

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2020


Panola Medical Center COO Chris Ware confirmed Friday the hospital will no longer provide labor and delivery services effective this week on March 9.

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Ware said the hospital will continue to provide gynecological and pre-natal service at the Panola Women’s and Children’s Clinic. He said all patients currently expecting and coming to the emergency department will be transferred to other facilities.

“We are thankful for the many years of service our Labor and Delivery/Nursery employees have given to the hospital,” Ware said in an email.

“To be clear, while we will be without labor and delivery services, the clinic will remain open for pediatric and gynecological care and can assist patients with identifying a physician for delivery,” Ware said.

“Panola Medical Center will continue to operate all other services for its patients in the community, including, but not limited to, general surgery, emergency, medsurg, hyperbaric/wound, physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, general family practice, radiology, laboratory, sleep studies, psychiatric services, and others,” he said.

Panola Medical Center has also made administrative changes in the past month, including a reduction of some staff, that officials believe were necessary to operating a profitable community hospital.

Part of the ownership of the hospital met with the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen two weeks ago to assure city and county leaders Panola Medical Center will continue to be a viable part of Panola County.

Local leaders, worried about the hospital’s future, have offered the ownership avenues of relief and support, but have not volunteered to put cash dollars into the medical center.

Hospital officials have responded to criticisms of moves to downsize and cut expenses, saying the well-documented challenges of providing profitable health care in poor, rural areas are a factor for Panola County, and pointing out new and improved services now offered.

The hospital held an open house last Wednesday, Feb. 26, to introduce a new service in the Wound Care department, a hyperbaric chamber that Ware described as “a game changer” for patients of Panola County and surrounding areas.