Little River running Cameron hospital

Temporary for now; more ‘clarity’ after hearing on Aug. 2

Little River Healthcare Systems, the Rockdale-based company which runs the local hospital and clinics, is now operating Cameron’s troubled Central Texas Hospital.

The situation is currently temporary but that might change after an Aug. 2 hearing in 20th District Court at which the next step in the increasingly- complicated legal struggle will be played out.

It’s all an outgrowth of the legal troubles of Dr. Tariq Mahmoud of Cedar Hill, operator of five Texas hospitals including CTH.

He has been accused of Medicare and Medicaid fraud and those hospitals have begun closing.

Jeff Madison, Little River CEO, said the company was contacted Friday and asked to take over operations at CTH.

“We agreed to do it to be a good corporate citizen,” Madison said. “We want to keep that hospital open and serving the residents of Cameron and the area.”

ORDER—Friday’s legal activity was instigated by the Central Texas Hospital Board which, amid fears the hospital would close, asked for a temporary restraining order against Dr. Mahmoud and Cameron Hospital Inc.

Dr. Mahmoud has leased the Cameron hospital since 1998.

That temporary order was granted by District Judge John Youngblood, who appointed Sheriff David Greene to execute the orders of the court.

“We were contacted and basically asked ‘can you save this hospital’?” Madison said. “We said we would help.”

Madison said Little River is providing staff, nurses, technical assistance and has “kept about everyone” from the current CTH staff.

“We are operating under the authority of the sheriff and we are taking care of the day-to-day running of the hospital,” Madison said.

A deputy sheriff is stationed at the hospital.

NEXT STEP—The Aug. 2 hearing will give Dr. Mahmoud an opportunity to contest the restraining order and is expected to determine if legal control of the facility is returned to the Central Texas Hospital Board.

“We’ll have more clarity after Aug. 2,” Madison said. “At the moment it’s not clear who is going to be operating the hospital longterm. You would hope that we would be in the running.”

STATE PROBE—Last week, Gov. Rick Perry ordered a “deep and comprehensive look” at Dr. Mahmoud’s hospitals and the allegations concerning them.

It’s expected that the Texas Department of State Health Services will be involved.

Earlier, health care regulators had closed two of Dr. Mahmoud’s hospitals, Renaissance Hospital in Terrell and Shelby Medical Center in Center.

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2013-07-25 digital edition

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