CREVE COEUR, Mo. (KMOV.com) - Employees at Laser Spine Institute in Creve Coeur said they’re scrambling to find other jobs after the center abruptly closed Friday.

Mindy Taylor worked as a surgical technician for three years. She said she got a call shortly after leaving work letting her know the institute was closing indefinitely.

“There was basically no answer, the only answer was that the doors are closed and nobody has any answers so we really don’t know where to go here other than find another job,” Taylor said.

Taylor is one of nearly 600 employees searching for a new job. The company, based in Tampa, released the statement below on Friday, citing financial struggles for the closure of all four locations, including Cincinnati and Scottsdale, Arizona.

“The company, the nation’s leader in minimally-invasive spine surgery, will cease operations, effective immediately. The company is reaching out to other surgical providers in the markets where they operate -- Tampa, Cincinnati, Scottsdale, St. Louis -- to determine whether these providers have the capacity to absorb the additional surgical demand. Simultaneously, company representatives are reaching out to all patients who were slated to have surgery in one of the company’s four surgical centers to notify them of the company’s closing and refer them to other in-market options. The company will also provide facilities for patients to receive the requisite post-operative care."

“My heart goes out to our great, dedicated staff who have stuck with us through all of our adversity and worked so tirelessly to help us right the ship,” said Jake Brace, Laser Spine Institute’s CEO, who was brought in late last year to help restructure the company. “We celebrate their efforts to keep the company going, as well as their great track record of providing nearly 100,000 surgical procedures, thereby helping patients afflicted with chronic neck and back problems quickly and effectively regain their prior lives.”

Several patients are also searching for alternate care providers. Dr. Kurt Eicholz runs St. Louis Minimally Invasive Spine Center and said he’s received multiple calls from former Laser Spine Institute patients inquiring about scheduling surgeries and appointments.

“We’ve seen five patients today, we have more scheduled for the rest of the week and their reaction is basically that they’ve been left in the cold,” he said.

News 4 asked Laser Spine Institute if severance would be offered. Officials said discussions are underway and that it’s ultimately the bank’s call.

Below is the full statement from Laser Spine Institute:

"Tampa-based Laser Spine Institute announced today that it will discontinue its operations, effective at the close of business on Friday, March 1. Despite significant cost saving activities over the last 6 months – including closing three surgical centers – that dramatically reduced its operating cost structure, the company has been unable to achieve a financially sustainable path forward.

The company, the nation’s leader in minimally-invasive spine surgery, will cease operations, effective immediately. The company is reaching out to other surgical providers in the markets where they operate -- Tampa, Cincinnati, Scottsdale, St. Louis -- to determine whether these providers have the capacity to absorb the additional surgical demand. Simultaneously, company representatives are reaching out to all patients who were slated to have surgery in one of the company’s four surgical centers to notify them of the company’s closing and refer them to other in-market options. The company will also provide facilities for patients to receive the requisite post-operative care.

“My heart goes out to our great, dedicated staff who have stuck with us through all of our adversity and worked so tirelessly to help us right the ship,” said Jake Brace, Laser Spine Institute’s CEO, who was brought in late last year to help restructure the company. “We celebrate their efforts to keep the company going, as well as their great track record of providing nearly 100,000 surgical procedures, thereby helping patients afflicted with chronic neck and back problems quickly and effectively regain their prior lives,” he added.

The company had achieved an operational turnaround. However, it was unable to attract the necessary financing to undertake a Chapter 11 process and continue operations.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Laser Spine Institute helped patients find lasting relief from debilitating neck and back pain caused by spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, bone spurs, bulging/herniated discs, sciatica and other chronic conditions. Laser Spine Institute has been repeatedly recognized for outstanding patient satisfaction and reports an enterprise-wide 98 percent patient satisfaction rate."

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