Frustrations continue for Seton Healthcare patients as some services stop

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Seton Healthcare is trimming down some of the services it offers. After reporting Thursday that Seton Southwest is discontinuing physical and occupational therapy programs, KXAN received another Report It e-mail from a viewer.

We confirmed with a Seton spokesperson Friday, the Kyle Hematology Oncology Clinic in Hays County closed on Thursday, March 8. Beginning Friday, March 9, cancer patients are being directed to Seton Infusion Center on Trinity Street near the University of Texas at Austin.

Spokeswoman Adrienne Lallo said these decisions were made after an extensive review of many different factors, including, but not limited to, the demand for each service and the accessibility of the location.

“Health care organizations around the nation are adapting to new and often challenging economic realities, and we are doing so in the most humane and sensitive manner possible,” Lallo said. “We’re very fortunate that we get to collaborate with some incredible providers in the community who share our interest in a vital health system that meets the broadest community needs.”

Some patients, however, say they’re upset with the short notice they received about the change.

A letter sent to Kyle Hematology and Oncology Clinic patients in 2018, notifying them about the clinic’s closure. (KXAN Photo/Yoojin Cho)

Carol Griffin told us she’s now in remission after battling cancer for about a year. She’s been going to the Kyle Hematology Oncology Clinic for her appointments, chemotherapy, and now, continued infusion treatments.

“Usually I go for a blood test and then the next day go for my infusions,” Griffin explained.

She said the Kyle location is only about 10 minutes from her house, but with the clinic now closed, she said, “Am I going to have to drive all the way to Austin for a blood test and turn around the next day and drive back again?”

Griffin said she received a letter in the mail, notifying her about the closure. She said the letter was dated Feb. 28, but she received it just a few days ago.

“My thinking was what am I going to do? Who am I going to get? Who am I going to see? I don’t want to drive all the way to Austin,” she said.

Griffin’s also worried about people she has met at the clinic. She’s in remission now, so she has a lot more energy. But she remembers what it was like to undergo chemotherapy.

“Your muscles hurt. Your bones hurt.” Griffin wonders how some of the patients are handling the stress of making new transportation arrangements to get to the downtown location. “You don’t know if you’re going to get any better. You’re sick and you’re hurt. Just… the whole thing is terrible. I was just furious when I got this, and no warning ahead of time.”

Seton is a non-profit hospital. It’s not required to alert the state about changes in its services.

It also partners with Central Health to provide services to under- and uninsured patients. Seton on average provides about $375 million in charitable care.