Partial payday for now-defunct hospital

By Jeff Ferrell – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – A now-defunct Ark-La-Tex hospital is beginning to pay former employees their final paychecks.  On this Friday, it was hourly employees who got their paychecks.  Salaried employees must wait a little longer.

It's just the latest chapter in what's turned into a long ordeal for people who counted on Doctors Hospital in Shreveport.  Emotions ran high for former employees who left with their paycheck in hand.  "Oh, just ecstatic.  Glad that they finally, you know, paid us and we can move on," said Jason Pate.

For others, like Melissa Monroe, it's a feeling of relief holding that final paycheck.  "Relieved, really relieved that, I hope that they're good. (laugh)"  That hint of distrust is actually no laughing matter said former employee Tracy Crain.  Crain elaborated, "there hasn't been (a) pay period in over a year that at least one person's check didn't bounce and usually it's like ten or twelve."

To get an idea of the agony these former employees have endured, KSLA News 12 Reporter Denise Middleton asked one Doctors Hospital worker, about to drive off in his truck, if he was relieved to get that paycheck in-hand.  "I ain't got time.  I'm going to that bank before they run out of money."  That former employee then quickly drove off.

Hospital owner Chris LeBlanc sent an email to KSLA News 12, writing that salaried employees were not paid today because the hospital is, "being slow paid by insurance companies.  And the payment from Medicare by itself wasn't enough to cover the salaried employees."  LeBlanc once again blamed the problems on a substantial drop in federal medicare reimbursements.

But, even some with a paycheck in-hand, like Tracy Crain, still question insurance deductions from their own checks in recent months, even though personal healthcare coverage ended January 1st.  "This isn't the end of it.  We're going to end up filing a class action lawsuit, all the former employees about thirty of us.  We've already got attorneys names."

LeBlanc also wrote that salaried employees should be paid next week as more money is collected from medicare reimbursements.  We'll keep you posted.

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