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River Oaks Hospital Closes Its Two Facilities

June 24, 2008

By Lynn Cook, Houston Chronicle

Jun. 23–River Oaks Hospital is shutting the doors at both of its Houston-area campuses.

According to a written statement from Hospital Partners of America, a private for-profit company based in Charlotte, N.C., no new patients will be accepted for treatment at the two facilities.

One is near the West Loop 610 and U.S. 59, and the other at 6700 Bellaire in the Sharpstown area.

HPA said it will do what it can to help the 600 nurses, lab technicians and other employees find new jobs. HPA also operates the St. Joseph Medical Center in downtown Houston.

In a written statement, Chris Vasquez, CEO of River Oaks Hospital, called it, “a very difficult decision for us to make.”

Despite what HPA deems “significant capital and operating investments” the hospital has been a financial failure, the statement said. The company blames “a very challenging cost and reimbursement environment.”

HPA did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The two locations operate 524 beds between them.

The River Oaks hospitals were considered general acute care facilities. The West Loop hospital performed a considerable amount of orthopedic and bariatric surgery, and both offered charity care to uninsured patients, especially delivering babies and providing psychiatric treatment at the Sharpstown location.

River Oaks Hospital had partnered with more than 40 Houston-area doctors, who made equity investments in the facility.

Dr. Howard Cotler, one of the doctor shareholders in the hospital, said those physicians’ investments have been “wiped out.”

lynn.cook@chron.com

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