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New owners taking over operations at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 1:02 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - For the first time in Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital’s long history, it is today a privately run facility. The financially strapped county hospital sold the operation to privately owned, Lion Star, Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.

Before the ink hit the dotted line, Lisa King, the Nacogdoches Hospital District President spoke.

“I want to assure everyone that everything that’s transpiring with these signatures is 100% legal in the eyes of Texas and what we’ve done for this community,” said King.

Reassurance that a formerly run county hospital will be in good hands with the private ownership of Lion Star Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital under the leadership of managing partner Sean Fowler.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the hospital where it once was. And that’s our goal. Expansion, not contraction,” said Fowler.

As of now over 700 hospital employees look to Fowler and executive vice-president of finance, Edmund King as their bosses. The partners will not ask anyone to reapply for their jobs. When asked if any streamlining will take place Fowler noted “operations will be studied”.

“The hospital is for sale for a reason,” said Fowler. “For certain we will look at efficiencies. And that’s really all I have to say about that.”

Fowler says physician recruitment and expansion of services are Lion Star’s priorities.

“We are looking to bring open heart surgery back to this hospital, as well as vascular surgery expansion. We are looking at bringing orthopedic trauma back to this emergency room. And expanding spine surgery,” shared Fowler.

Services the hospital district can’t afford. It faced low Medicaid reimbursements and expensive hospital renovation bills. Memorial Hospital District joins other districts seeking a life preserver.

“A lot of districts do similar activities, similar type of structure of the district leasing the hospital to an operator,” explained Lion Star’s executive vice-president of finance, Edmund King.

The hospital district continues to own the brick-and-mortar building as explained by the hospital district’s secretary, Dr. Ryan Head.

“As the district we will be responsible for at least a million dollars improvement of the facilities. Lion Star will be responsible a million of investment for capital expenses. Per year”.

And the hospital district will continue to collect its portion of sales tax and reimburse Lion Star for its indigent care.

Bottom line. Operating bills will be paid by Lion Star.

Three million dollars was transferred for operations of the hospital.

Sean Fowler says he wants a friendly relationship with competing hospital ... Nacogdoches Medical Center.

At the close of business, Lisa King offered a handshake with Fowler, both expressing relieved smiles.

“It’s been a long road,” said Fowler to King who answered, “We’re crossing. Hallelujah.”

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