Mayor responds to news of Sumner Clinic's announced closingBy CLAY MCFERRIN,
SUMNER — Greenwood Leflore Hospital announced Friday (June 19) that the Sumner Clinic here is one of three GLH satellite health care facilities that, effective June 19, have permanently closed.
In a noontime announcement on its website — glh.org — and Facebook page, the Greenwood hospital posted a flyer about the closings, which also include Kilmichael Clinic in Montgomery County and Lexington Primary Care Clinic in Holmes County.
“Due to the recent COVID-19 event and the financial effects, Kilmichael Clinic, Lexington Primary Care Clinic and Sumner Clinic will not be reopening. The decision to close the clinics was not an easy one, but we appreciate you allowing our providers to meet your medical needs. Thank you for being our loyal customer,” the hospital noted in the flyer.
The news came as a surprise to Sumner Mayor Jack Webb IV, who said he had spoken with the hospital’s administrator one day earlier and they scheduled a face-to-face meeting for this week. The imminent announcement of a closure was never mentioned, the mayor added.
Webb said he learned of the closure announcement when one of the town’s aldermen forwarded the flyer to him through a text message.
“I was caught off guard,” Webb noted.
However, Webb said GLH administrator Gary Marchand assured him Saturday that release of the announcement “has no bearing” on the planned upcoming meeting with Sumner officials.
Webb hopes that a rabbit can be pulled out of the hat.
“We don’t have much in Sumner,” he said. “That clinic brings a lot of traffic to town.”
Its loss, Webb noted, “is just another strain economically” for the municipality on the banks of Cassidy Bayou.
“It’s not good,” he added.
Webb said the Sumner Clinic operated five days a week and employed six people prior to closing in late March or early April due to COVID-19. It has remained shuttered ever since.
The mayor said he and town officials have known for a while that the clinic was in jeopardy because they were told it was losing money.
Still, Webb said he “hopes we can find a way to keep it open. A lot of people depended on the health care that they were able to provide.”
Friday’s flyer contained a special message for patients of each of the three clinics.
“Patients of Sumner Clinic: At this time it will be necessary for you to transfer your care to another health care provider or continue with the provider at the Itta Bena Clinic. We will continue to provide you with any necessary medication refills until July 31, 2020. After July 31, 2020, you will need to obtain medical care elsewhere if you choose to do so.”
The flyer noted that arrangements to transfer medical records can be made by contacting the GLH Medical Records Department at 662-459-2609.
IN THE PHOTO: This building, at the corner of West Walnut and North Court streets in Sumner, for decades housed the Sumner Clinic, a member of the Greenwood Leflore Hospital Network. (Photo by Clay McFerrin)