Local hospital, clinic closings leave employees out in the cold

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KILLEEN, Texas (KBTX)- The abrupt closure of area hospitals and clinics owned by Little River Healthcare left employees stunned, even though they knew of the looming possibility of a shutdown.

Rockdale Hospital, Rockdale Family Care Clinic, Rockdale Downtown Medical Clinic, Cameron Hospital and Cameron Clinic are among the closings.

In a Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act or WARN letter sent earlier to employees, Little River Healthcare announced that because of the failure to find new owners, the facilities would be closed down by Friday, but the closures came earlier.

“My heart dropped, I was in shock I got the phone call 9:30 at night saying, 'Hey the doctor will be there, pickup your stuff, the clinic will be closing.' It broke my heart. I don’t have money to pay for the bills, Christmas is around the corner and I have a 3-year-old that stays with me so it’s very upsetting,” former clinic employee Darby Baker said.

The company filed for bankruptcy in July and then filed last month to liquidate.

“We rely on that income, we are going to be able to file for unemployment most of everybody who as laid off yesterday but it in yesterday. But that’s not what we want we want our jobs. We were a family there and it’s like losing tour family,” former clinic employee Kelly Abel said.

Patients arriving Wednesday morning at Little River Healthcare King Daughter's Clinic at 1905 SW H.K. Dodgen Loop were turned away by clinic staffers and told the clinic was closing.

Calls to Little River Healthcare facilities including the Temple Surgery Center, Temple Women’s Center, Harker Heights Women’s Center, Killeen Spine Program, Killeen Clnic and Salado Medical Clinic weren’t answered Wednesday, but an automated message played that said, “Due to an unfortunate turn of events, Little River Health will be shutting its doors immediately"

“Thousands of patients are left without any providers to care for them. Providers themselves are not allowed to get patients lists or records so they can contact the patients and provide a transition of care,” former clinic employee Jesse Rodriguez said.

A total of 298 employees will be laid off, Texas Workforce Commission spokeswoman Lisa Givens said.

Little River Healthcare and the affiliated companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 24.

On Nov. 30, the companies filed a motion to convert the cases to Chapter 7 cases.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor’s assets are sold to pay off creditors, while under Chapter 11 debtors negotiate with creditors.