HOUSTON - After HopeBridge Hospital treated its final patient Wednesday morning, employees were told that the southwest Houston psychiatric facility could not meet its payroll.
HopeBridge says it is permanently closing because the hospital failed to meet certain accreditation standards and was no longer eligible for payments from Medicare and Medicaid.
Administrators say they are currently unable to pay 160 workers,.
"The employees haven't been paid because one of the managed care providers which processes claims for Medicaid has not honored their agreement," said HopeBridge CFO Anthony Brown, who accuses the provider of abruptly backing out of a deal to pay $500,000 in funds. "Financially, we were left with nothing to do other than to close the hospital."
Angry employees showed up outside the facility and demanded answers from managers.
Former workers say they are owned 2 to 4 weeks of compensation.
"We have bills to pay," said former employee Dee Moore, who says she is missing thousands of dollars in pay. "I was counting on that check to at least hold me until I could file for unemployment."
HopeBridge says it is working through the legal system to force its managed care provider to pay the funds, so it can pay former hospital workers.
"As soon as the insurance company pays us and the bank releases the funds, we will pay the employees," Brown said. "The patients were first and foremost, the employees are next and we will take care of them."
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