Texas doctors rescue hospital

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

For the fourth time in three years, Tri County Hospital–Williston is undergoing leader and management changes.

Last week Drs. Mohammad Tariq and Jalil Khan publicly announced that for the last four weeks, they’ve been behind the scenes consultants at the hospital and are now the majority shareholders.

Tariq, the primary spokesman of two, said he had been interested in acquiring the hospital two years ago, but negotiations with Jerry Gillman were already too far gone.

He and Khan never lost sight of the hospital in Williston and when Gillman became hamstrung with financial obligations he couldn’t meet, they stepped up to the plate.

For the last month, the doctors have been funding the operations at the hospital and they have big plans how to bring it back from the depths of despair to become a thriving health care facility. Residents should see changes within two weeks, stabilization within three months and a hospital on its way to success in nine to 12 months, Tariq said.

“We do not want the community to lose its health care,” Tariq said. “It’s unthinkable that people must drive 40-60 miles to a hospital.”

Successful communities, Tariq said, boast jobs, good schools and promote quality health care. He and Khan want to see that Williston fits into that model.

“We know how to take care of patients,” Tariq said. Both he and Khan have medical practices in Lewisville, Texas, where Khan does preventative cardiology and Tariq, who is board certified in internal medicine operates a pain management clinic.

The two plan to draw on their own expertise on patient care to build the hospital to a successful institution.

They’ve started by meeting payroll and helping alleviate employees’ concerns about their futures with the hospital.

For the past four weeks they’ve been taking stock of how to bring the hospital into compliance with all the agencies that govern it, all the while courting already-successful  physicians in Ocala and Gainesville to perhaps come to Williston one or two days a week to offer specialty medical care, like gynecology, cardiology and pulmonology.  

The doctors know that for their plans to become reality, they–the hospital–needs the support of the community and they aren’t ashamed to ask for it.

Tariq stressed several times that he owes his success–professional and financial–to the communities he has served for the last 15 years. Now, he says, it is turn to give something back. The doctors’ goal is to give back in the form of revitalizing the hospital so everyone who needs medical attention will receive it.

Tariq said no one would be refused medical care due to the inability to pay.

While the two are commuting back and forth between Texas and Florida, Daud (David) Babar will be their eyes and ears onsite as he implements the business model in Williston that the doctors have found success with in their other business ventures.

The doctors welcome community input and say they will rely on the people of this area to help them shape the hospital into the kind of facility they want.