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Texas hospital that abruptly closed in May, laid off 900 finds new operator

A Texas hospital that unexpectedly closed earlier this year has found a new operator, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston signed a 15-year lease to take control of Webster, Texas-based Bay Area Regional Medical Center, which closed in May. UTMB officials said they signed a letter of intent for the 191-bed hospital in August and finalized the deal Oct. 25, according to the report.

As part of the deal, UTMB will pay roughly $210 million during the course of the lease for the hospital, which will be rebranded as UTMB Health Clear Lake Campus. It is expected to reopen in spring 2019 under a "phased-in" process, as hospital equipment must be tested and recalibrated. Officials also said they aim to rehire many of the 900 employees who were laid off when the hospital closed.

Bay Area Regional Medical Center closed in May after operating for four years. In an email to the Houston Chronicle at the time, Bay Area Regional Medical Center CEO Stephen K. Jones Jr. said the hospital was forced to shutter because it "was not able to overcome significant hurdles with managed-care companies." An estimated 900 employees were laid off at the time. However, a hospital spokesperson told the publication 342 employees have found jobs at other hospitals in the Houston area.

Soon after the hospital's closure, several former Bay Area Regional Medical Center employees filed a class-action lawsuit against the hospital, arguing the facility did not give employees proper notice of the closure. The lawsuit seeks damages in the amount of 60 days' pay, the report states.

To access the full report, click here.

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