Opening a Pauls Valley urgent care is the first step in reopening the full hospital, a medical group told News 9.

The city-owned facility was shuttered in 2018 after struggling to make payroll.

Chickasha-based Southern Plains Medical Group opened the urgent care on Thursday in part of the old hospital building.

“Think if you were to leave your house vacant for a year, what you would come back to?” said Hal Brock, of Southern Planes Medical Group. “This has been kind of a work in progress.”

“We’ve been working with the state, but if you I imagine, this place rested for about a year, so we got back about 114 pages of deficiencies that we have to correct,” Brock said.

He said the full hospital could reopen by May, but in the meantime, they are restoring many of the services once offered including mammograms, ultrasounds, CT scans, X-rays and lab diagnostics.

With the nearest hospital 30 to 40 minutes away, he said getting even routine tests had turned into all day treks.

“Prior to this, for about a year, some of those providers had been sending those labs off to Oklahoma City, to Dallas and not getting results back, for some, 72 hours and we have the capabilities to get it back now in 24 hours,” Brock said.

He said in the next three to five years, it's estimated 500 rural hospitals close across the county, but with new management, he said the future of the Pauls Valley hospital is looking up.

“Just having a facility that’s open seven days a week and having this option if there’s something going on, I can see a doctor,” Brock said.