Lakeside Hospital, Bastrop, Texas

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LakesideOn Friday, November 19, 2010, without any warning, nurses, patients, and staff at Lakeside Hospital in Bastrop, Texas received an early holiday surprise.  The hospital was closed and all employees had lost their jobs. Patients were sent elsewhere or discharged.  The only information was a sign on the door that said the hospital was closed. The Texas Department of State Health Services had not been notified about the closing, and the state agency did not find out until after it was done.

One former hospital employee explained the events that occurred on November 19: “Early this morning management came in and put the hospital on divert from any EMS traffic. Department managers were escorted off the premises, patient’s families were called to pick up their sick loved ones, and ER patients were told to leave and go to another hospital.” When Lakeside Hospital closed, five patients were taken to other area hospitals. Two patients that were in the emergency department at the time were taken care of and then sent home.

Another former employee sent an email to a local news outlet, explaining: “It [had] been rumored for the past several weeks that St. David’s was looking to buy Lakeside Hospital.” In response, an official at St. David’s HealthCare issued the following statement:

“The Bastrop community is important to St. David’s HealthCare, and people living in and around Bastrop deserve access to exceptional medical care. We are disappointed to learn that Lakeside Hospital at Bastrop is closing. We have reached out to area EMS providers, as well as Smithville Regional Hospital, to let them know that we will help in caring for Bastrop area patients in any way possible. Some members of the Bastrop community have recently approached us with an interest in having St. David’s HealthCare acquire Lakeside Hospital at Bastrop, and we are currently exploring that opportunity.”

All 122 staff members lost their jobs and the doors to Lakeside Hospital were locked. Employees did not expect payment for vacation, sick time, or unemployment compensation. The only other hospital in the county with a 24-hour emergency room, Smithville Regional Hospital, remains open in Smithville, about 15 miles away.

Another former employee added: “Lakeside Hospital had excellent clinicians that provided a very important service to the community. The hospital had an excellent emergency staff, physicians, nurses, respiratory staff, imaging and laboratory staff, and they ran an outstanding level IV trauma center. It’s unfortunate for the community that those clinical programs will no longer be available.”

Blackhawk Healthcare LLC, an owner and operator of rural community hospitals, acquired the 15-bed facility on the brink of foreclosure in July 2009 for about $20 million. The facility provided cardiology, general surgery, outpatient surgery, orthopedics and diagnostics, and imaging services.

According to another former employee: “We were informed that we were losing $136,000 per month and that’s why they were looking at laying some people off. But of course, it came as a surprise this morning that everyone was getting laid off. Some of those people that work in that ER are single parents that still have kids in school, and still trying to support them. It’s not going to be easy for them to get a job. And what are we going to do about the community?”

One community member stated: “I think that’s pretty sad they would up and go like that without no notice. I know a lot of people that worked there. They were just wonderful.”

Smithville Regional Hospital’s CEO issued a statement on the day Lakeside closed: “We know this is a difficult time; we are committed to working with all patients in the community to make this a seamless transaction for their continuum of care.”

Photo credit: Google street view

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Posted: October 6, 2014

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Category: All, Lost Hospitals, Texas

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