It seemed like no one knew what was coming: Little River Healthcare, which operated clinics in Killeen, Harker Heights, Temple and other parts of Central Texas, abruptly closed earlier this month after declaring bankruptcy earlier in the year.
Neither employees nor patients received any warning of the upcoming closure.
Killeen resident Zera Thompson was not only a patient at the King’s Daughters Clinic in Temple, but also an employee at the Georgetown Orthopedics facility, which were both operated by Little River Healthcare.
“There was no warning of closing,” she said. “They never sent out emails letting us know about the bankruptcy … there was no communication at all.”
The Rockdale-based Little River Healthcare closed after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A message posted to the company’s website stated that all Little River Healthcare facilities were closed, effective Dec. 4.
Thompson, a single mother of twin daughters who are about to graduate from high school and are getting ready for college, is also taking care of her 8-month-old grandchild.
“I am the rock of my family, the only person who had a full-time job,” said Thompson, who worked as a patient service representative at the Georgetown clinic.
Now she is waiting on her unemployment and had to apply for food stamps — not without trouble.
“It was hard to do that due to the fact that (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) needed a letter stating I am no longer working,” she said. “The worker called the Little River Healthcare number and then she believed me.”
Thompson was not the only one who was suddenly left without a job. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, Little River Healthcare left 298 people unemployed.
Killeen resident Sam Hanson saw pediatrician Rebecca Riser as well as pediatric primary care nurse practitioner Lindsey Willis with her four children at the Temple office.
“I loved them,” she said. “As a military family it’s very important to me that my kids all get the same doctor. It helps make the care more personal for our family.”
Hanson moved to the Killeen area two years ago and has seen her children’s primary care physicians at the Temple office ever since.
“I actually went out of my way to take them to Temple,” she said. “I didn’t know that they might be closing. I didn’t receive a letter or warning.”
Hanson found out on Facebook that Little River Healthcare is closed. However, she is determined to follow her family’s doctors to their new offices — once they find one.
“I plan to follow my kids’ doctor wherever they go and I heard they are trying to re-open,” she said. “I am waiting until they do.”
Hanson was also a patient at the now-closed Harker Heights Women’s Center and was very happy with the health care she received.
“Dr. Solis not only delivered my fourth child but also did my tubal surgery,” she said. “No complaints here. I’m really hoping they can continue in the same building.”
Many local patients are following their doctor’s personal Facebook pages to stay updated on the new development.
Patients who need to request their medical records can call 512-430-6492 for assistance.
The recording says Little River Healthcare is in Rockdale, Texas, and directs patients to physically come to a location in Suite B, behind the hospital on Pecos Street and fill out a release form.
Patients of King’s Daughters are directed to go to the administration building imaging center behind the clinic at 1909 SW H.K. Dodgen Loop in Temple. Patients need to take their driver’s license and fill out a release. Records would be picked up at a later date, after someone calls the patient.