News

Rockdale hospital still okay

No fallout seen after Crockett facility closes
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


Sign of economic health? LRH employees’ vehicles continue to line up along Brazos Street in overflow parking as hospital lots stay full. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Sign of economic health? LRH employees’ vehicles continue to line up along Brazos Street in overflow parking as hospital lots stay full. Reporter/Mike Brown Not to worry.

That’s the word from the Chief Executive Officer of Little River Healthcare (LRH) after rumors circulated about the health of LRH’s Rockdale Hospital in the wake of the company’s withdrawal from its Crockett’s hospital.

The Crockett facility, Timberlands Hospital, closed its doors on June 30.

CEO Jeff Madison told The Reporter LRH executives remain “very optimistic about the future of Little River Healthcare and remain committed to the success of our Milam County operations.”

He said LRH has not filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy—one of the rumors—and even still remains committed to remodeling the former HEB building to house the healthcare group’s Rockdale clinics.

CROCKETT—Timberlands Hospital closed at the end of June after LRH withdrew from managing the facility after an affiliation of just over a year.

“LRH recently experienced financial difficulty due in part to disputes with certain insurance carriers,” Madison said. “Due to these disputes, we could not continue to sustain the monthly losses experienced at Timberlands Hospital, forcing us to make the difficult decision to withdraw.”

Madison added: “This closing was required to sustain the viability of all the other entities in the Little River family, including the Rockdale hospital and clinics.”

LAYOFFS—While about 200 jobs were lost when the Crockett hospital shut its doors, Madison said the situation has not resulted in widespread layoffs in Milam County.

“Due to the reduction in hospital management responsibilities following our exit from Crockett, a small percentage of administrative positions company-wide were terminated,” he said. “Most of the terminated positions were outside Milam County.”

“Little River Healthcare is committed to continuing to provide quality medical care in Rockdale and Milam County,” Madison said. “We would not exist without the support of our hometown patients.”

DYNAMICS—Rockdale’s hospital has been stable in recent years since the advent of LRH and that’s a much different set of dynamics from the Crockett hospital, which had three different management firms in just over a year.

On June 1, 2015, the 49-bed hospital “divorced” from East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, which had run the Crockett facility for 10 years.

Community Hospital Corporation (CHC) managed the facility on an interim basis until LRH came on board April 18, 2016.

The former Richards Memorial Hospital in Rockdale opened in December, 1974, and faced a number of crises throughout the next few decades, in 1989, 1994, 2000 and 2010.

But in each instance the community rallied around the facility and LRH brought stability and growth.

By 2012, LRH provided the area 250 jobs and a $750,000 payroll.

CLINICS—Not only does LRH fully back its Rockdale hospital, the company still plans to remodel the former HEB Building, a couple of streets from the hospital, for its Rockdale clinics.

In February, 2014, LRH purchased the 22,500-square-foot former supermarket and announced it would be the new home of the Main Street Clinic and three clinics (Suites A, B and C) on the hospital grounds.

Some remodeling work actually took place in 2015 but no activity has been observed by the public for many months.

But Madison said the project is still anticipated.

“We still intend to develop the old HEB building, but do not have the excess cash flow available to do it right now,” he said.


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