East Houston Regional Medical Center won't reopen after Harvey damage; Puerto Rico recovery continues

Rescue workers traverse floodwaters
A Houston-area hospital will not reopen following Hurricane Harvey. (U.S. Deptartment of Defense)

A Houston hospital will not reopen after suffering extensive damage during Hurricane Harvey. 

East Houston Regional Medical Center, which is operated by Hospital Corporation of America in its Gulf Coast Division, posted on its website that it will close after 40 years following damage sustained during the hurricane. The closure is in the best interest of patient and staff safety, the hospital said. 

"Though the facility has been damaged in the past, we have rebuilt many times. We’ve endured three floods since 2000," the hospital said. "Our team looked at every potential option for continuing to treat patients at the facility. In the interest of safety, we have determined there was no way to continue operations at this current site." 

RELATED: Hurricane Harvey took heavy toll on Houston-area practices; rebuilding continues 

The 131-bed hospital was flooded with six feet of water during the storm, despite floodgates that were installed following flooding caused by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, Debra Burbridge, a spokeswoman for HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division, told the Houston Chronicle. 

The final fate of the building has not been determined, Burbridge said. It was announced that the hospital's 479 employees would be laid off, but she said that thus far 400 have been placed at sister facilities. 

RELATED: How Texas Medical Center used the lessons from Tropical Storm Allison to prepare for Hurricane Harvey 

HCA is not the only company impacted by the hurricane. Tenet Healthcare posted a net loss of $366 million in the third quarter of 2017, and the hospital operator announced that it would adjust its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization as hurricane recovery in both Texas and Florida continues.

Tenet predicts $30 million in lost revenues and higher expenses associated with hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it announced. 

RELATED: Hurricane aftermath—Damage leads to hospital shortage of drug supplies from Puerto Rico 

Meanwhile, recovery continues in Puerto Rico, which was hit particularly hard by the series of powerful hurricanes. Buzzfeed News reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will fly approximately 3,000 people from shelters on the island to New York and Florida. 

Doctors in the mainland U.S. have also joined forces to assist their counterparts in Puerto Rico, according to an article from Kaiser Health News. Finding a plane to deliver supplies to the island was a massive undertaking, according to the article, but physicians from across the country formed a grassroots group to ensure the supplies reached people in need.