Monday, February 19, 2018

Bethany HomeHealth shuts Longview office, 4 others

By Ken Hedler
Jan. 13, 2017 at 11:02 p.m.

The Bethany HomeHealth office in Longview.

Bethany HomeHealth Services has shut down its offices in Longview and four other cities in East Texas. It was unclear late Friday whether the closures were permanent and unknown how many employees and patients will be affected.

A woman who answered the phone at Bethany's Longview office on West Loop 281 said it was referring patients to other home health agencies in the Longview area. Calls to Bethany's corporate offices in Plano were not returned.

The company also is closing offices in Carthage, Nacogdoches, Texarkana and Lufkin, according to Christine Mann, spokeswoman for the Texas Health & Human Services Commission. She said the commission's staff learned about the closure plans in a phone conversation Thursday with officials from Bethany.

"At this point, we are not sure if this is a permanent closure or just temporary," Mann said. "We have only had verbal confirmation."

She cited a state code that requires home health entities that are closing permanently to notify the state Department of Aging and Disability Services within five days before closing an agency, branch office or alternate delivery site.

Mann said she did not know how many employees the offices had.

In marketing materials, Bethany says it is one of the largest home health agencies in Texas, serving more than 20,000 patients a year in 160 counties. It provides nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, medical social workers and home health aides.

Beyond the affected sites, East Texas offices are in Corsicana, Greenville, Palestine, Texarkana and Tyler.

The company had not notified the real estate company that manages and leases its Longview building, Zach Williams Commercial Real Estate, or the Texas Workforce Commission of its closure plans.

In contrast, Workforce Commission Communications Director Lisa Givens said American HomePatient Services notified her office before laying off 98 employees at its Longview support center, 105 E. Loop 281, and closing it Dec. 31.

She said the commission and its Workforce Solutions partners were prepared to respond to layoffs through its Rapid Response program.

"Upon notice of any mass layoffs or plant closings in Texas, our agencies can act quickly to provide Rapid Response Services and minimize the impact to local economies by helping employees to transition to new employment," she said.



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