HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Doctors and patients at the Heights Hospital were left stuck in the parking lot after being told they were not allowed in the building Monday afternoon.
A note posted on the door said that the locks for the spaces rented by 1917 Ashland Ventures LLC, the owners on record of the hospital, have been changed and they will only be given keys when $461,302.24 in rent and fees are paid.
Staff members said they were given no warning or opportunity to alert their patients or collect their personal items from inside.
"I tried to contact the owners," said Dr. Felicity Mack, who is listed as a physician at the hospital. "They aren't responding. The title company is not responding. We are really not getting any answers, but at the end of the day, my primary concern, like I said, is my patients."
Mack attempted to treat patients who needed help with wound care in the parking lot on Monday, but was unable to get any other equipment from inside to treat others, like Linda Fisher.
She said she comes multiple times a week for care from Mack for severe lingering effects of COVID-19.
"It's detrimental to patients and to myself," Fisher said from her wheelchair. "It will impact my functionality. I get regular visits all the time, so I don't know what's going to happen."
Mack said security would not allow them into the building, and police were also seen on location informing staff they were not allowed in.
Dr. John Thomas, another physician who was left wondering what was going on, said this sends a message to their patients that their lives do not matter.
"It is very obvious that somebody is thinking only about money and not about community and lives," Thomas said.
There are three providers who operate out of the building at 1917 Ashland St. in the Heights, according to staff. Patients and employees of the other groups were granted access.
Meanwhile, property records show the building is owned by 1917 Heights Hospital LLC.
The attorneys listed on the letter posted to the hospital's door did not return ABC13's request for comment via phone on Monday.
Eyewitness News learned a civil suit was filed in Harris County against 1917 Heights Hospital LLC in July 2020 by Integranet Physician Resource Inc., claiming they were not paid $300,000 owed to them.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee showed up to the hospital Monday afternoon and knocked on the door but was also not allowed in.
She called the situation "outrageous."
"If they pretend to be a hospital or a medical institution, there is federal involvement, and I don't believe they will be looked upon for getting any reimbursement that is owed to them from the federal government having shut the doors on patients," said the congresswoman.
In addition to not knowing how to move forward with patient care, staff of the Heights Hospital is unsure if they will be paid.
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Heights Hospital closes because owners are behind on rent, notice says