Doctors Hospital CEO: The Hospital is Here to Stay

An Ark-La-Tex hospital tries to heal its financial wounds in bankruptcy court on Monday.

Representatives from Doctor's Hospital are ironing out an agreement to keep the facility running. Hospital leaders cleared up some lingering questions about the hospitals future.

For one thing, they say it's here to stay.

Except for the emergency room Doctors Hospital is open for business.

News that the hospital filed for bankruptcy had patients like Eddie Lee Williams wondering about the future. He calls before making the trip from Vivian.

"I heard about it but every time I call down here they always tell me to come on. I'm coming. That's all I can do," says the patient who's been visiting his doctor there for three years now.

CEO David Holly says Doctor's closed the ER because it was a financial drain and moved the ICU to another floor, relocating it next to an existing nursing unit. But there are no plans to close the hospital.

"(It's) business as usual and the public needs to know that we'll be there for a long time to come and bankruptcy is just a part of our history now."

At least one doctor won't be a part of the hospital's future though.

Doctor Marius McFarland says his clinic almost exclusively uses Doctors Hospital.

However, outstanding debt as well as the changes going on at the hospital prompted him to resign effective April 6th.

"I've already started developing relations with the other hospitals to continue to use their facilities for acute care patients. Doctor's still has a rehab that's still available. They still have a chemical dependency unit. But for my acute care patients I'll be positioning them in other hospitals," he says.

And Doctor's Hospital's lawyer says plans are in place to find a buyer.

The current owner and other interested parties will offer bids. Then a judge will decide which bid is best.

Another issue discussed at Monday's hearing is whether to appoint a patient care ombudsman for Doctor's Hospital.

That's a government official who investigates complaints from the public.

Right now Louisiana only has a system for providing that type of official for nursing homes and long-term care facilities, not a hospital.

However the judge did authorize the appointment of one.

Doctors will work with the United States Trustees Office to put one in place.