Hospital district asks Texas AG to investigate former operator

Huntsville Memorial Hospital could once gain be under at Texas attorney general investigation, as hospital district officials look to recoup some of the monies that they were required to expend due to certain actions of the Walker County Hospital Corporation. 

Decisions by former administrators and directors at Huntsville Memorial Hospital cost taxpayers million of dollars. 

Now, just months after finalizing the purchase of the acute care facility, the Walker County Hospital District — a local taxing entity — is looking to redress the lost monies from a transaction that cost them over $10 million.

After meeting behind closed doors for over an hour on Wednesday, members of the hospital district unanimously agreed to file a formal complaint with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. In this complaint they will be asking for an investigation into the mismanagement of funds by the hospital’s former operator — the Walker County Hospital Corporation — and its board of directors.

“I want it to be known that the issue with me, is from how that administration was corrupt and the illegal actions they took while running this hospital,” hospital district member Jerry Larrison said. “That is concerning to me, and we need to do something about it, as the community has asked us to do.”

The Walker County Hospital Corporation — the non-profit organization that was previously responsible for the operations of HMH — filed for bankruptcy in December, 2019 after losing millions due to inflated salaries, alleged insurance fraud and failing attempts to establish a network of clinics. Most of the corporation’s assets were acquired by the hospital district earlier this year.

The financial woes of the former operator also hurt taxpayers when it came to rent payments, as the corporation was unable to make monthly payments of nearly $350,000 for almost two years, alongside over $2.1 million in bailout funds. 

“We have an obligation to this community and we have an obligation for the tax dollars that we have had to spend to keep this hospital running,” hospital district chairman Anne Woodard said. “We can go through litigation, but that would be expensive and the taxpayers have already spent nearly $10 million to keep the hospital going.”

The hospital is currently owned by the hospital district in a joint-venture partnership with Community Hospital Corporation out of Plano. Management of the hospital is under the advisement of a three-person executive board and a newly-appointed community board.