Sumter, SC (WLTX) - Lawyers for Tuomey Medical Center say it could be forced to close after a judgment in a case that says the hospital didn't follow Medicare laws.
"I cannot imagine Sumter without it," said resident Ann Floyd. "My brother passed away on Christmas Day at Tuomey. I could not have been more happy with the care he received and the compassion I received."
The federal government seeks a $237 million fine in the case, but in court documents, lawyers for the hospital say that fine exceeds what Tuomey would be able to pay.
"It's a local hospital and it's also a big employer and the idea that we could lose that, or have the service they provide change, is something that certainly frightens me," said South Carolina Senator Thomas McElveen, D-Sumter.
McElveen sites care for underinsured and loss of jobs as his two main concerns.
"I just don't want the type of services that Tuomey offers to be interrupted or to stop," McElveen said. "Certainly if jobs are lost, it will definitely effect people in my district in addition to those effected by the loss of local healthcare."
The hospital employs almost 2,000 workers. If Tuomey closed, Sumter residents would have to travel to Clarendon County or Columbia to find the closest hospitals.
"If we didn't have what I really believe is this wonderful hospital - we've got so much industry coming in, we've got shaw air force base, we've got the third army - we would wither up and dry," Floyd said.