Doctors at a Houston hospital on Monday morning found themselves locked out with no way of treating their patients.
At the Heights Hospital, medical workers ready to open the on-site clinic discovered a notice on the door saying the hospital owed more than $1 million in back rent and fees.
"Please be advised that the door locks to the leased premises have been changed and tenant shall be excluded therefrom due to non-payment of rent," the note read, adding that keys would be provided "upon payment of delinquent rent and other sums due under the lease."
Miles Cohn, an attorney listed as the contact to receive the keys, did not return a call for comment from CBS News outlets.
"We showed up around eight this morning, myself and my staff to get ready for clinic ... we were told we were not allowed in the building anymore," Dr. Felicity Mack told local CBS affiliate KHOU.
"We've called owners, management, title company — nobody's really giving us any answers," Dr. Mack said. "They're pointing fingers back and forth."
Despite lacking access to medicine and supplies, Dr. Mack went ahead and treated patients outdoors.
"I'm treating patients out in the parking lot so that at least we can get them some sort of care," she said. "But we really just want to be able to care for our patients."
Dr. Mack said she's been giving about 100 COVID-19 tests a day.
A patient of hers, Linda Fisher, told local station ABC 13 that she visits the clinic several times a week to get treatment for lingering COVID-19 issues.
Without treatment, some patients aren't sure how they'll manage.
"I come here twice a week for wound care because I have a bedsore," patient Milo Johnson told KHOU. "Without it... it kind of set me back a little bit."
The hospital is owned by AMD Global, a Houston-based real estate group, which bought the facility in 2017, according to a press release. AMD Global runs two other hospitals, in Louisiana and Arizona, according to its website. The group did not reply to a request for comment from CBS MoneyWatch.
Two corporations, 1917 Ashland Venture LLC and 1917 Heights Hospital LLC, are listed as tenants of the venue, according to the notice filmed by KHOU. The Houston Chronicle reported that a Nevada-based company recently sued 1917 Heights Hospital, alleging it is owed more than $3 million in interest in connection with a $28 million loan. Miles Cohn is representing the company, Arbitra Capital Partners, the Chronicle reported.
"I think this is a shame. I've never seen this before, that sick people are locked out," Representative Sheila Jackson Lee told KHOU.
"We're in the midst of a pandemic, when doctors and health professionals have sacrificed their health to care for patients of all kinds," she said. "This is an insane action."
The Democrat said the hospital and a management company were supposed to meet Monday afternoon — and she's asking the local sheriff to get involved.
The hospital's website, which briefly went down Tuesday morning, says the Houston facility provides urgent care, surgery, behavioral health services and other treatments.
First published on January 19, 2021 / 3:29 PM