Small Central Texas Town Loses Its Hospital

Lake Whitney Medical Center has closed its doors. (File)
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WHITNEY (March 26, 2014) The Lake Whitney Medical Center, which was embroiled in an ownership dispute, closed its doors for good Tuesday evening.

Neither the hospital nor the emergency room was open Wednesday and most of the facility’s 28 remaining employees have lost their jobs.

A clinic that operates in one wing of the facility remains open and several hospital employees are now working there, officials said Wednesday.

The Whitney Hospital Authority board was unable to sell the facility or to find a management company to run it as long as Dr. Tariq Mahmood was considered the legal owner.

He’s free on $25,000 bond after he was indicted in April 2013 by a federal grand jury in Tyler.

He’s charged with conspiracy to commit more than $1 million in health care fraud in nine separate counts, but denies the accusations.

He’s now awaiting trial.

With the help of donated funds and materials and volunteers, some repairs and renovations were made to the facility last year, but the hospital couldn’t collect Medicare or Medicaid payments, which ultimately doomed it.

The hospital simply doesn’t have the funds to remain open, Hospital Authority Board spokeswoman Francine Sanderson said Wednesday.