07 24 2014

Cozby-Germany Doctors Take Ownership Of Hospital

By Terry Britt
Staff Writer
GRAND SALINE—Cozby-Germany Hospital’s is now under new ownership pledging to turn things in the right direction at the facility.
With most of the hospital’s approximate 40 employees gathered, hospital board president Michael Swain announced that the two on-site physicians, Dr. Qasim Nayeem and Dr. Abbas Mian, was to take ownership of the hospital at the opening of business Friday (March 1).
The announcement, made at 10 a.m. Thursday morning, drew a big round of applause from those seated.
“I judge by that reaction that everybody is in approval about this,” Swain joked.
The change also severs a somewhat-stormy relationship during the past several years with former owner Dr. Tariq Mahmood.
On Feb. 12, the Mahmood-owned Renaissance Hospital Terrell, operating as RH Terrell Management LLC, was closed down by federal, state and local officials for unpaid tax bills and a number of safety violations, according to published reports.
After the 30-minute meeting with Cozby-Germany employees, Swain said the forced closing of the Terrell hospital “played a lot with our decision” to part ways with Dr. Mahmood.
“There were a lot of things that added up to a decision that we could not see this hospital going forward in the direction it was going under Dr. Mahmood.”
During the brief meeting, board member Tom Elliott outlined the difficult journey in the past two years to get to Thursday’s announcement.
“We have been looking to get somebody in. But all of the big hospitals we talked to didn’t want anything to do with a small community hospital like this. They would not be able to make the money they want to make from it,” he said.
Cozby-Germany Hospital was very much on the edge of closure itself at one point, Elliott revealed.
“It got to where we were within five days of having to close and declare bankruptcy,” he said.
Dr. Nayeem spoke for most of the meeting and answered a few questions from the employees.
He said it would likely take about three months to get new Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement numbers for the hospital under the new ownership.
Those reimbursements determine and fund staff pay. However, Dr. Nayeem added, “Dr. Mian and I have put personal funds together to suffice for three months of pay.
“Cross your fingers that Medicare doesn’t delay things any further than that,” he added.
Dr. Nayeem and Elliott both commented that they never want to see employees holding paychecks for deposit, as had been the case occasionally in recent years.
Dr. Nayeem also added that there was “no intention of letting anybody go,” another statement that was met with expressions of relief from those assembled.

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