More than 1,200 concerned Velma residents have banded together to try to keep their clinic open. The Town of Velma turned in more than 1,200 signatures and a letter to try to sway Duncan Regional Hospital’s recent decision to close the clinic in Velma.

The clinic was scheduled to close its doors Friday. DRH has cited poor utilization as the cause for the closure. In the last fiscal year, the clinic treated almost nine people a day. To break even, the clinic would have to meet the medical needs of at least 15 people a day.

Shaun Enloe, Velma mayor, said he submitted the letter July 30. The letter tries to demonstrate to DRH various reasons to keep the clinic open. He said the clinic now has a constant staff so people can become familiar with those employees. He said there was some confusion in the insurance acceptability at the clinic.

“Look at 2010, when the practitioner was here and see if the number went up or what,” he said.

“I believe with the efforts that we have made in the last few days we definitely have the hospital’s ear right now,” he said. “I know that they have a new administrator and we were told that this will be their top issue to deal with.”

Enloe said he is only asking for a six-month delay on the clinic closure.

“We are asking for another six months to see what might transpire,” he said. “Now that the community knows what they might lose, it might bring folks in.”

Marketing and Public Relation Coordinator at Duncan Regional Hospital, Haylee Root, said both sides will have another meeting Tuesday to discuss options.

“The people of Velma want to keep it open,” she said. “They have offered some solutions. I think it went well, we want this to work. We want to be there to support them.”

— David Laughlin is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 144, or via e-mail at david.laughlin@duncanbanner.com.

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