Texas hospital closes following extensive hurricane damage

East Houston Regional Medical Center revealed plans to permanently close Nov. 9 after suffering extensive water damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in August.

The Texas Workforce Commission said Thursday 479 employees at the hospital will be laid off. A spokesperson for East Houston Regional said 400-plus of those workers have been reassigned to nearby sister hospitals, according to the Houston Chronicle.

A spokesperson for the Houston-based HCA Gulf Coast Division facility told the Houston Chronicle the hospital evacuated patients and suspended operations Aug. 25. The facility never reopened.

While the hospital added floodgates following water damaged caused by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, East Houston Regional flooded twice more: once during Hurricane Ike in 2008 and once during Hurricane Harvey.

"After more than 40 years of providing healthcare for the community, East Houston Regional Medical Center will cease operations as a result of damage sustained during Hurricane Harvey. … Our team looked at every potential option for continuing to treat patients at the facility. In the interest of safety, we have determined there was no way to continue operations at this current site. It's just not the safest way forward for our patients or our employees," hospital officials wrote in a statement on its website.

Officials said patients may seek out care at nearby Pasadena, Texas-based Bayshore Medical Center or Webster, Texas-based Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.

The spokesperson said officials have not made a decision on the future of the building, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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