VP of Houston County Hospital Board reacts to settlement with ETMC

VP of Houston County Hospital Board reacts to settlement with ETMC
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - The Vice President of the Houston County Hospital District is speaking out two days after the board reached a settlement with East Texas Medical Center.

Despite Monday's announcement, that the two groups would be parting ways, VP Larry Christopher said there is no need for concern.

"I want to convey the message that we will continue to have a hospital here," Christopher said.

Christopher said the process started about a year and a half ago after the Hospital District felt ETMC was not offering the services that were called for on the lease.

The pull out by East Texas Medical Center ends a 20-year relationship between the hospital and Houston County. County Judge Erin said he is saddened by it but knows the board is working to get the right provider in place.

Christopher said Dallas-based Community Hospital Corporation will be involved in the transition.

"They will be running the day to day operations and helping us move through the process smoothly," Christopher said. "They will be here for a while making sure everything is okay."

Christopher said he thinks the new relationship will be beneficial.

"We're going back to a community hospital as to being a satellite for a larger institution, so hopefully many of the services offered here in Tyler will now be offered here locally," Christopher said.

Christopher said the medical field is seeing a lot of changes from healthcare reform but is not sure this latest development is because of that.

"It's possible. I can't speak for ETMC," Christopher said. "Obviously, their business model had changed from being full service in Crockett to Crockett being more of a satellite institution to their bigger Tyler hospital."

ETMC released a press release about the issue on March 2.

"We are saddened that our time in Crockett and Houston County is ending," Perry Henderson, ETMC senior vice president, affiliate operations, said in a press release. "Our goal has always been and continues to be providing quality healthcare to the people of this community. To that end, we pledge to work diligently with the HCHD board and Community Hospital Corporation on the transition and to reduce the disruption of healthcare services."

Management of the Crockett hospital, which includes the inpatient, outpatient, and emergency departments, will transfer back to the Houston County Hospital District at 11:59 p.m. on May 31. In addition, the ETMC First Physicians clinic in Crockett will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

In the interim, ETMC will provide:

  • office space and support for CHC's administrative, financial and clinical representatives
  • town hall and individual meetings with hospital employeesregulatory agreements, documents, information and data to facilitate the transition
  • reasonable access, for up to 12 months, to ETMC information technology systems
  • transfer of certifications, licenses and permits associated with the operation of the hospital and clinic, andat the HCHD's election, the
  • assignment of approximately 100 ETMC vendor contracts.

ETMC and the Houston County Hospital District have partnered together since 1995. Since that time, ETMC has invested more than $27 million in facility and technology upgrades for the hospital, according to the ETMC Website.

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