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Houston Has 524 Fewer Hospital Beds After River Oaks Closure

Kathryn Mackenzie, for Texas Healthflash, July 2, 2008

River Oaks Hospital is closing both of its Houston campuses after struggling for four years to turn a profit there, says parent company Hospital Partners of America.

The hospital stopped accepting new patients at both campuses last week and transferred about 100 current patients to the 362-bed St. Joseph Medical Center, also operated by HPA. In a written statement, Chris Vasquez CEO of River Oaks, called the closure, "a very difficult decision for us to make."

Despite what HPA says were significant capital and operating investments, the hospital failed to thrive. The company blames a "challenging cost and reimbursement environment" for the hospital's financial downfall. "We have all worked diligently to turn the hospital around and have invested significant effort and financial resources in the facility. Unfortunately we have been unsuccessful in achieving an economically sustainable facility," says Vasquez.

Although HPA is not commenting on what will happen to the hospital's more than 500 employees, sources say at least some of them will be absorbed by St. Joseph's because a number of patients are being transferred there. HPA will also hold a job fair to place employees in other jobs. River Oaks—which has 524 beds between the two campuses—is a joint venture between HPA and a group of more than 40 Houston doctors. The hospitals were considered general acute-care facilities, but also performed a large number of orthopedic and bariatric surgeries.

Kathryn Mackenzie

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