Eureka Springs, Ark. clinic temporarily closes due to staffing

The Eureka Springs Hospital Clinic temporarily closed due to staffing issues following the recent departure of a nurse practitioner.
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 5:11 PM CDT
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EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KY3) - The Eureka Springs Hospital Clinic temporarily closed due to staffing issues following the recent departure of a nurse practitioner.

The urgent care clinic opened on March 1 with the intent to offer primary care as well. While searching for a primary care physician, the clinic provided urgent care services three days a week. Hospital administrators say they’re hopeful it is only a temporary move.

“It has been tough. Not a lot of people want to come to rural Arkansas to provide care, so we have done our best at advertising and getting it out there,” said Eureka Springs Hospital CEO Angie Shaw. “It’s not just with providers, but finding dietary, finding nursing. Nursing staff is really hard to find for rural facilities. I know we’re not the only ones that are seeing this.”

The closure is a primary example of the struggles for rural health care.

“A big problem we have is there is really no place for our people to economically live in Eureka Springs,” said hospital Vice-Chairman Kent Turner. “Eureka Springs housing is relatively expensive. The houses that become available are $180-250/sq.ft. You can’t survive on an entry-level nurse’s salary. Even in some upper-level positions, it’s difficult.”

While the hospital continues daily operations, the closure may send patients elsewhere for some services. And in rural Arkansas, you may have to travel.

“My mother-in-law and father-in-law have to travel to Fayetteville and Bentonville to get care from different practitioners, and that’s a long drive,” said Anna Smedley, a Eureka Springs resident for several years. “I rely on the hospital for primary care, and a lot of our community is elderly. They need an option nearby.”

Smedley saw the importance of accessible care following a recent biking accident.

“I had a mountain bike crash and broke my collar bone. I felt so fortunate to have the hospital so close,” she said. “Anybody who has broken their collarbone, not just fractured it, but really broken it into multiple pieces will tell you it’s very uncomfortable to move around.”

However, she, like many others, may be inconvenienced.

“It’s essential, and I think that’s a great thing we have with the current hospital commission. We all understand the importance of the hospital to the area,” said Turner.

For more information, call Samantha Jones at 479-253-7400, ext. 4802 or email Samantha.Jones@EurekaSpringsHospital.com

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