Sale of former Groves hospital null, city remains optimistic

Published 10:58 am Monday, June 27, 2016

GROVES — The fate of the former Renaissance Hospital in Groves is once again up in the air.

Groves City Manager D. Sosa said he learned the potential sale of the former medical facility, located at 5500 39th St., fell through June 3.

The parking lot to the old hospital still has several “Renaissance Hospital” vehicles parked out front and in the back and a peek at the building shows a few window blinds are askew. Sosa explained that police have caught and made cases against several people who burglarized the property.

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The property will be listed with a local Realtor.

“We are hoping to work with them and find a buyer for the property,” Sosa said, adding the city is hoping for an aggressive marketing promotion. “The city will try and offer appropriate incentives in hopes of getting a viable business in there or a good use of the property.”

Groves Mayor Brad Bailey was born at the medical facility decades ago when it was then called Doctors Hospital. He and Sosa have talked many times about what usage of the facility be a good fit for the community and have talked to several investors.

The former Doctors Hospital operated successfully for decades before changing ownership, and name, to Renaissance after Steve and Eileen Nguyen acquired it. The couple had been in the seafood business and in 2009 opened the doors to the community with the mantra of providing quality healthcare.

But by 2011 employees came forward saying they hadn’t been paid in months. Soon after those employees began filing their complaints of theft of wages with the Groves Police Department. By January 2012 inspectors with the Texas Department of State Health Services began an on-site investigation.

Because of mounting financial woes, new management was brought in, headed up by Woodrow “Woody” Moore, administrator with Foundation Surgical Hospital Affiliates. The company made major changes to personnel such as the termination of Eileen Nguyen, former chief executive officer, as well as the termination of former clinical and administrative personnel. An aggressive plan was put into place after it was learned that Medicare would not allow the hospital to participate in the program until deficiencies were corrected and ambulances were diverted to other area hospitals.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, who took ownership from the Nguyens, hired Moore to get the hospital back on track, Sosa said.

Bliss, and the hospital, lasted about a year before the facility was abruptly closed in April 2013 and sold again.

Then came another disappointment for the city when Jason LeDay of St. Anthony Hospital in Houston took ownership but never showed up in Groves. By January 2014, St. Anthony’s was also closed.

Bailey remembers well the hopes of seeing a vibrant business in the city then subsequent disappointment.

“We’ve bent over backwards to help those who wanted to buy the hospital through liens and help with water bills,” he said. “Before we do that again we want to make sure, some sort of guarantee, that the next owner goes into this with long term plans and financial stability to revamp or repair and be a long term part of the community.”

But at some point in time the city will have to get with trustees who are over the property to determine its fate.

“At some point we are going to have to put pressure on somebody to d something with it,” he said. It (facility) will get to the point of being repairable.”

Bailey said that if the property begins to negatively affect the nearby neighborhood than something will be done. The city has ordinances that residents must abide by regarding junk vehicles and appearance of homes and this would apply to the property as well.

Bailey noted the latest trend toward free standing emergency rooms as well as a trend toward rehabilitation centers.

“We have a couple of big wishes. We hope the Indian Springs subdivision takes off and that it creates some type of want or need in that and other facilities in the city. All that being said, I’m pretty optmist8ic. I think something good is going to g there. It will be remarketed and rebranded. Something outside the box. It’s just a matter of time.”

Mary Meaux: 409-721-2429

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews