Lost Hospital — Holy Infant Hospital, Hoven, South Dakota0

In 1943, Holy Infant Hospital opened in Hoven, South Dakota.  With a population of 511 according to the 2000 census, Hoven was incorporated in 1883, in the heart of South Dakota’s Blue Blanket Valley.

A town dominated by agricultural interests and an abundance of wildlife, Hoven cherished its local hospital for over 60 years.

Holy Infant Hospital closed in October 2010. A volunteer EMT stated: “It’s a big slam to the city.  As far as the ambulance, we have to go to the surrounding towns.”

The closest towns are Gettysburg, Mobridge, Bowdle, or Faulkton, all a 20-25 minute drive away (depending on the conditions of the road).

In addition to losing a hospital, 60 people employed by Holy Infant Hospital lost their jobs. Holy Infant Hospital’s management blamed the decision on a lack of money.

The community tried to help, generating $350,000 in 2009 through fundraising efforts. But it was not enough, and Holy Infant Hospital’s annual payroll alone was about $1 million. City officials considered bringing in new management, but it was too expensive.

According to the Hospital’s administrator, Sandy Schlechter: “The community has always been there. It’s always been supportive and it’s a great asset that they have here for this hospital and clinic but there comes a time where you can’t continue to ask your community to give big dollars like that year after year.”

Hoven will still keep its ambulance services, and the Faulkton Medial Center will run a full-service clinic in the town three days a week.

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