It’s been a rocky few months for the hospital in De Queen, Arkansas. But now, a major announcement by the city’s mayor signals that change could be coming soon.
De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown said Wednesday the facility is about to be sold. “There’s been an agreement in principal between Healthy Connections and Jorge Perez, the current owner of the hospital, to purchase De Queen Medical Center,” Brown said.
According to its website, Healthy Connections is an Arkansas-based non-profit with nine locations throughout Southwest Arkansas. Brown said it’s vital to his community to have a good quality hospital. “Healthy Connections is one of the top ten ranked businesses in Arkansas to work for
and I feel like they’ve got our community’s best interests at heart,” he said.
Uncertainly has surrounded the hospital in recent months. In December, there were reports that employees weren’t paid on time. A spokesman for the facility’s ownership called the late pay an anomaly. Just over a week ago, electricity at the hospital was turned off because of unpaid bills. Concerned city officials have gathered to discuss options for services in the event the hospital should close.
Brown said residents showed relief after his announcement at Tuesday night’s council meeting. “A couple of days ago we didn’t even know if we were gonna have a hospital,” he said.
In a statement late Wednesday afternoon to KTAL NBC 6 News, Health Connections said it has had positive conversations concerning De Queen Medical Center but at this point, there is not a signed agreement.