The small Ozarks town of Mt. Vernon is reeling from the news that its largest employer is shutting down in October. There’s been conflicting information swirling around the town on how the closing of a rehabilitation center might affect a VA clinic that rents space from the center. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson heard directly from both organizations and has this report.
The Missouri Rehabilitation Center, which is run by the University of Missouri Health Care, will close October 31, according to a release from MU Health Care. It employs a total of 323 people there.
The decision is based on several factors, according to the release:
- A declining patient volume
- Uncertainty of state funding, and
- A very old building that is expensive to maintain.
MU Health Care said it will make outgoing employees a priority when considering jobs within the wider organization.
The Veterans Affairs clinic in Mt. Vernon, which is separate from the rehab center that’s closing, leases 35,000 square feet of space from the rehab center to run an outpatient clinic for rural veterans. Its lease will end when the rehab center closes.
Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks released a statement saying the VA Clinic may need to change locations, but that health care will continue for veterans somewhere yet to be determined. If there is a change in location, the VA will notify veterans.
The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks also said in that release, “no VA clinic employee will be released due to the closing of the Missouri Rehabilitation Center,” and that VA employees are reporting to work as usual.
Text from Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks:
VA Statement Regarding Missouri Rehabilitation Center Closing
Mt. Vernon, MO – Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (VHSO) was informed on Monday, August 11, 2014 that the Missouri Rehabilitation Center will be closed effective October 31, 2014. This is the facility that we currently occupy for our Mt. Vernon community-based outpatient clinic. At this time, it is too soon to know what this means for the location of our clinic, but VA wants to assure all Veterans that health care will continue at MRC, the current location, if available. Alternative locations will be considered if required.
We are working diligently with the Missouri Rehabilitation Center and our VA partners to determine how this may affect the location of our clinic. VHSO will do everything possible to continue care without disruption, and will notify Veterans if they are affected by the Missouri Rehabilitation Center closure. Should Veterans have any questions they should contact their primary care team.
Additionally, we want to assure stakeholders that no VA clinic employee will be released due to the closing of the Missouri Rehabilitation Center. All employees are continuing normal operations, and will continue to work on providing the best care anywhere to our Veterans, regardless of any change to location, should one occur.
(End of Press Release)