A SWEPCO spokesperson has provided clarification to the De Queen Regional Medical Center's electrical disconnection, stating that main parts of the hospital still have electric service, but that it's expected that those services will be disconnected tomorrow.
"SWEPCO has diligently worked with administrators of the De Queen Hospital regarding delinquent payment for its electric service," said SWEPO spokesperson Peter Main. "The hospital maintains multiple accounts, seven of which were disconnected today. A portion of the main hospital still has electric service. One account for physicians’ offices is being transferred to a physician. The hospital and its tenants were notified in January. We understand the importance of health care facilities to communities and will continue to work with hospital officials. However, in disconnecting for non-payment, we are also working to protect our other customers from having to absorb the cost of unpaid electric bills.
As of this evening, the emergency room at De Queen Regional Medical Center is still open and the lights are on. Workers in the ER said they are trying to get someone from the hospital to provide information to the public as to what is going on, though no one has been made available.
According to a SWEPCO, seven of eight electric accounts belonging to the hospital were shut down today with the eighth account being that of a physician who has offices in the hospital, and had their account switched into their name.
No information was available as to how overdue the hospital is behind on their bill. Sources said that there are no patients in the hospital and the emergency room is not admitting any.
A memo went out Thursday to employees stating that "due to a shortage of lab supplies," the hospital was placed on ambulance diversion.
This story was updated at 5:24 p.m. to include a statement from SWEPCO spokesperson, Peter Main.