HUNTSVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - In the last fifteen years, more than 160 rural hospitals have been forced to close across America. Nearly two dozen of those have been here in Texas.
After years of financial struggles, a local hospital will soon undergo some big changes that could help save its future.
Huntsville Memorial Hospital is the only hospital in town. Those who live there, say it's a necessity.
"As far as this community and everyone around Huntsville, they rely on this hospital to be able to get the emergency treatment and all the treatment that they really need," said Derek Lemons, a Huntsville resident and graduate student at Sam Houston State University.
In November, Walker County Hospital Corporation filed for bankruptcy, making some residents wonder what would happen if the hospital shut down.
"My guess is that a lot of people would not seek out the care that they need because they don't want to spend the time, or the money or the resources to go to one of the other hospitals that are an hour away," said Lemons.
KBTX reported that the hospital was behind in millions of dollars in payments to vendors and made several expense cuts, including employee layoffs.
Now, the Walker County Hospital District is working with Community Health Corporation out of Plano to help save the hospital. Its new name will be Huntsville Community Hospital Inc.
Residents say these efforts are appreciated.
"That shows that they're wanting to keep the care for these people around the town, they're wanting to keep the community safe and the community healthy," said Lemons.
The deal is costing taxpayers $7.8 million.
Ann Karr-Woodard with the Walker County Hospital District said the hospital will not be closed during this transition.
According to Karr-Woodard, a date to close the sale has not been selected at this time but that it could be as early as this week.