News alert: Champion Medical Center to close Howell Place hospital

    A photo illustration of a busy nurse's station at a modern hospital. (iStockphoto)

    Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information about the ownership of Champion Medical Center, which is owned by former executives of Texas-based Next Health. 

    Champion Medical Center, the north Baton Rouge specialty surgical hospital, is shuttering its Howell Place operation after less than four years in business.  

    Officials with the for-profit company, during a phone conversation today, notified the Louisiana Department of Health it would be closing the Howell Place facility in the “very near future,” confirms Bob Johannessen, spokesman for the state agency. The hospital must provide written notice to LDH 30 days before closing, and Johannessen says company officials are currently drafting the paperwork.

    An exact timeline for the closure is unclear. Champion officials referred all requests for comment to the owners, Forge Health System, which declined comment on the closure.

    Forge Health System quietly broke away from Next Health, LLC, in March and gained control of Champion, says Mike Austin, a former Next Health executive and current executive at Forge.

    Next Health has been at the center of multiple allegations of illegal bribery and kickback schemes for its subsidiaries over the past year. Austin says Champion will issue more information next week.

    Daily Report has the full story.