ROCKDALE, Texas (KXAN) — Hundreds of employees are set to lose their jobs when the hospital in Rockdale closes later this week.
Rockdale city leaders shared a letter with KXAN that they received from Little River Healthcare on November 30. The letter states that the hospital and four other medical facilities in the area expect “to cease operations and close certain of its facilities because of unforeseen business circumstances on December 7, 2018.”
The letter further states Little River Healthcare filed for bankruptcy in July 2018, and it can no longer pay the debtor to keep its operations open. The hospital said it’s still seeking a new buyer, but no deal is currently in the works.
“If the Company is unable to consummate a sale or seek additional funding from the lenders by November 30, 2018, it will be forced to wind down its operations and terminate the employment for all or substantially all of our employees,” the letter states.
Workers have already been let go, and more are set to be terminated, the letter continues.
Rockdale Mayor John King said closing the hospital will negatively affect the community in a number of ways, including people’s access to critical care.
“That puts our first emergency room within about 30 miles,” King said, “so we’re looking to 30 to 45 minutes transport time, which could cost lives in the long run.”
On Monday more than two dozen calls came in to the Central Texas Workforce Center in Rockdale. Julia Cardona and her team there are scrambling to connect hospital employees with resources, like unemployment benefits, training and job opening information. They’re even contacting medical facilities in neighboring communities so that they can host a job fair sometime in the near future.
“There’s help and a lot of hope,” Cardona said. “We’re a small community, but everybody pretty much sticks together. We try to help each other out as much as we can.”
She said pretty much everyone in town knows someone affected by the hospital’s impending closure.
“My daughter works there. I’ve got cousins. I’ve got nieces. I’ve got several family members there,” Cardona said.
“They’re all very upset,” she added, “trying to figure out what the next steps will be.”
Tim Storey, who worked for years as an electrical contractor at the hospital, said he will lose a significant portion of his business when it closes.
“They’re about 27 percent of our business,” Storey said, “so it’s losing a big customer.”
“It’s just terrible,” he added. “I mean right here at Christmastime, so many people are going to lose their jobs. It’s just a shame.”
Little River Heathcare said it close the following facilities on Friday:
- Rockdale Hospital, 1700 Brazos Avenue, Rockdale, TX
- Rockdale Family Care Center, 1700 Brazos Avenue, Rockdale, TX
- Rockdale Downtown Medical Clinic, 602 Main Street, Rockdale, TX
- Cameron Hospital, 806 N. Crockett Avenue, Cameron, TX
- Cameron Clinic, 806 N. Crockett Avenue, Cameron, TX