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Voters OK tax for county hospital


Sevier County voters Tuesday approved a 1% sales tax and a bond issue to support the construction of a hospital, months after a troubled health care facility in De Queen was forced to close.


By Kat Stromquist
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Sevier County voters Tuesday approved a 1% sales tax and a bond issue to support the construction of a hospital, months after a troubled health care facility in De Queen was forced to close.

De Queen Medical Center closed in May after financial mismanagement by Missouri-based operator EmpowerHMS, as demonstrated through months of late payrolls, unpaid bills and delinquent property taxes.

The hospital was the first to close in Arkansas in several years, and health care observers worried that it would portend a wave of rural hospital closures in the state. Since 2010, 118 such facilities have closed nationwide.

Now, county voters have given the go-ahead in a plan to raise money through county sales and use taxes to build a hospital outside De Queen. The hospital is projected to open its emergency department in the summer of 2021. Read more.

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