By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
CELINA – Fifteen patients were left hanging today as the Cumberland River Hospital (CRH) Clinic that was supposed to open at 8 a.m. remained closed. The clinic’s opening has been delayed due to the bureaucracy involved in licensing physicians to staff the facility. The new tentative clinic opening date is Dec. 1.
Don Downey, CRH hospital administrator, stated that he had a license in hand to open the clinic. Still, when he called the doctors to report to work, he discovered that they had not received their licenses to work at the facility yet. Without those licenses in hand, CRH could not charge for any services provided to their patients.
“My choice is to provide free services or wait two more weeks and open,” said Downey. “It wasn’t really a choice.”
The opening of the clinic has been eagerly anticipated by Clay County residents, who are excited about their hospital reopening.
“We had 15 people today very upset, and I felt they were upset at me,” shared Downey. “That made for a humiliating experience trying to justify bureaucracy. These were all patients coming to register because they want their hospital to be reopened.”
Downey hopes to have everything up and running for clinic patients by early December, and they are still planning on a Jan. 1 opening for the hospital if all the licenses are approved in a timely fashion.
Downey’s frustration with the bureaucracy was evident today as he lamented, “I have never tried to do something that was so worthwhile and can’t even get it started.”