Houston hospital lockout forces physicians to treat patients in parking lot

Physicians arrived at Heights Hospital in Houston Jan. 19 to find the locks had been changed and they had no way of entering the facility. Instead of turning patients away, some physicians tried to treat patients in the parking lot. 

Heights Hospital shut down after its management failed to pay rent, according to a notice on the door of the building. 

"Please be advised that the door locks to the leased premises have been changed and tenant shall be excluded therefrom due to non-payment of rent," the note read, according to TV station KHOU

Some physicians, including Felicity Mack, MD, resorted to alternatives to treat patients. 

"I’m treating patients out in the parking lot so that at least we can get them some sort of care," Dr. Mack told KHOU. "But we really just want to be able to care for our patients."

Dr. Mack said she's been giving about 100 COVID-19 tests a day, and patients that come to the facility for lingering COVID-19 issues said they're concerned about where they'll receive care, according to CBS News

In 2017, AMD Global, a Houston-based real estate developer, purchased Heights Hospital and created two companies to manage the medical center: 1917 Ashland Venture and 1917 Heights Hospital, according to the Houston Chronicle. The letter informing physicians and patients of the lockout was addressed to both entities. New keys will be given when past-due rent and fees are paid, the notice said, according to ABC 13

Heights Hospital hasn't reopened, but physicians were allowed to briefly enter the facility two at a time on Jan. 19 to get items, a physician told KHOU

Some physicians are exploring next steps if Heights Hospital remains closed. 

"It puts me in a real bind with my patients," John Thomas, MD, told ABC 13. "I currently have another building that I'm looking at leasing so I can see my patients this week."

 

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