Troubled hospital to stay open, cloud of uncertainty looms - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Troubled hospital to stay open, cloud of uncertainty looms


After weeks of speculation, the Lake Whitney Medical Center will not be closing its doors. Thursday, the group that owned the hospital for nearly a month, Frontier Hospitals, announced the medical center will remain open, but under new ownership.

"I am tired of crying and I am tired of seeing people cry," James Stanger, Frontier Hospitals COO said. "That is pretty much the truth."

Frontier Hospitals signed a document to rescind their previous agreement they had on August 1st with indicted Dr. Tariq Mahmood. But the thought of ownership transferring back to Mahmood didn't bode well with employees.

"Stability hasn't been there and it hasn't been there for a very long time since everything started to go downhill with Mahmood, but it definitely isn't now," Dawn Engler, Lake Whitney Medical Center employee said. "After today know...its...frustrating, very frustrating."

But Mahmood might not be owning the hospital for long, a pending transition agreement with the Hospital Board Authority awaits and another cloud of uncertainty looms over this troubled medical center.

"We are all just wore out by it you know, you worry about buying groceries to take home when you are just an employee and it just worried. We are all worried sick," Engler said.

Frontier Hospitals CEO David Byrns and Stanger say they felt they did everything they could to save the hospital, including spending more than $200,000 to keep it operating for 29 days.

"Every time we open a piece of mail or look at another place. There was another lean or another deficiency or something that was right there that had to be fixed at this moment," Stanger said. "You only have some many fire extinguishers to put out so many fires and when you are out of fire extinguishers there is nothing more else you can do. That is why we were getting to the point where we almost had to close."

"They couldn't see through it. There is leans and tax issues and Medicare issues and you just get to a point where you can't get past it anymore," Engler said.

Even though Byrns and Stanger no longer have ownership of the Whitney hospital they feel their time as operators was a success.

"We haven't lost a hospital yet and we can say we still haven't lost a hospital yet," Byrns said. "So yes it was a success, the community still has their hospital, they have health care, they have an emergency room, and that is what we set out to do "

From this point on Frontier Hospitals say they are willing to do anything they can to help with a smooth transition, and they will be reimbursed by Mahmood for controlling the hospital for 29 days.

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