By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

As the planned construction date of the LHP Hospital Group Killeen-area hospital looms, Harker Heights starts to look at deals to secure the hospital for the city by working with other entities for a development agreement.

The City Council authorized City Manager Steve Carpenter to seek a 380 agreement with the LHP Hospital Group on Sept. 14 on a tract of land that is about 22 acres and sits adjacent to Rosewood Retirement Center. A 380 agreement is a term coined for an economic development agreement based on were it is located in the Texas Local Government Code, Carpenter said. It is chapter 380.

The council's action will allow the city to go forward with negotiations and seek other deals with taxing entities.

"(LHP) is asking for incentives," Carpenter said on Sept. 14.

The council's action comes about three months after the LHP announced that it will be building a hospital in the greater Killeen area.

In June, LHP Hospital Group CEO Dan Moen was expecting the group to close on the land in the next 90 days, and start construction by Dec. 1., which would put the facility's opening in mid-2012.

Moen also mentioned in June that deals were already in the works on land for the site of the hospital.

"They are all relatively close to (U.S. Highway) 190," Moen said in June. "... And we are working on what is the best and most appropriate (site)."

The hospital will be a $100 million hospital with 75 private beds.

It will have between 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of medical office space, and also hire about 300 employees, including doctors, nurses and other staff members, Carpenter said.

LHP started looking at the Killeen area because several groups, including some independent Killeen physicians, expressed a need for a facility in the area.

Members of the Citizens Against Health Care Monopoly Coalition, which promoted the Seton Family of Hospitals' failed merger with King's Daughters Hospital in Temple, are welcoming the new hospital that would be provided by LPH.

"Our goal is to achieve greater competition in an anti-competitive market in medical care as well as medical employment," said Chip Howell with the coalition in June. "(The LHP) is just another option for health care. It will keep that current option in check and in line, ... and it will allow physicians another option if it doesn't work out at their hospital."

The coalition hopes the hospital will provide medical services that are not affiliated with Scott and White hospitals in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties.

Scott & White Healthcare of Temple last year purchased the financially troubled King's Daughters Hospital and is in the process of transitioning the hospital from an acute-care hospital to a comprehensive pediatric care facility.

Scott & White also is in partnership with Metroplex Hospital in Killeen, which operates Rollins Brook Hospital in Lampasas.

In addition, Scott & White operates clinics and medical centers throughout Central Texas.

Most of the leadership for LHP Group includes former members of Triad Hospitals Inc. Triad ran 13 hospitals in Texas and more than 50 nationwide before it was bought out by Community Health Systems in 2007.

LHP was founded in about 2008 and is a private company, unlike its predecessor Triad, Moen said in June.

CCMP Capital Advisors LLC, the CPP Investment Board, and members of management are the major stakeholders in the organization, he said.

It is the goal of LHP to build a state-of-the-art facility, provide a high level of care, and give patients and the people of Bell County an alternative, Moen said.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554.

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