“It has to stay open,” Pauls Valley hospital on verge of closure asking community for help

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. – Asking for help — that’s what the leader of Pauls Valley Regional Medical Center is doing online.

“We can no longer rest and wait for someone to come rescue us,” said Frank Avignone, CEO of Alliance Health Partners Oklahoma. “We have to take our own future into our hands and move this hospital forward. It has to stay open.”

Avignone’s company took over the hospital, and he said a legacy of debt was inherited from previous management. The city gave the hospital money earlier this month, but that was just to hold the hospital over.

“Since then, we’ve been floating everything on donations that have come through the door,” said Avignone, who started a GoFundMe for the hospital.

“By the end of the month, we hope to have raised $2 million and that will fund operations, pay all of the employees up to date, make sure all of their benefits are caught up,” said Avignone, who told us around $75,000 has been pledged so far.

Another $3 million will be needed by the end of the year.

The hospital is in such bad shape, the maternity ward is gone.

“We’ve had, on several occasions, a new mom that was scheduled to have her baby in Oklahoma City or Norman and had to stop here in emergency labor, and we’ve actually delivered babies in cars,” Avignone said.

Employees — and the public are chipping in.

“Six years ago, if we had not had a hospital in Pauls Valley, I would have died, and I know many others that are in the same situation,” said resident Susanne Blake, who took part in a prayer circle for the hospital on Tuesday. “I have hope. In fact, I know that this can come about.”

On Sunday, there will be a benefit barbecue at noon at the hospital.