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Qatar Harvey Relief Money Goes to Historic Hospital Reopening

The specifics haven’t been worked out entirely, but the county plans to have Riverside Hospital provide primary and mental health care as part of the Harris Health System.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett (center) announces a $2.5 million gift to help reopen the Riverside General Hospital alongside Qatari ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee.

The State of Qatar is providing $2.5 million to the Harris County project to reopen the historic Riverside General Hospital as part of the country’s $30 million fund for Harvey relief in Texas.

Riverside Hospital closed in 2015 following a financial scandal. With funding from the Houston Endowment, Harris County bought the campus earlier this year.

County Judge Ed Emmett told reporters the specifics haven’t been worked out entirely, but the county plans to have Riverside provide primary and mental health care as part of the Harris Health System.

The Riverside General Hospital closed in 2015. When it opened in 1927, it was known as the Houston Negro Hospital— the first nonprofit hospital to serve Black patients in the Third Ward. Harris County purchased the hospital earlier this year and is currently remodeling the campus to serve as a community primary care and mental health clinic.

“I almost hate to even keep using that term [mental health],” Emmett said. “Sooner or later, we’re going to get to the fact where mental health is just seen as part of health care, it won’t be a separate thing.”

Emmett hopes the hospital makes care more accessible, as health care options in the neighborhood are often limited. The entire project costs $39 million and should be done within the next few years, Emmett said.

Qatar is also providing $2.5 million to the City of Houston and $5 million to the Rebuild Texas Fund. The other 20 million will go to projects that are still being finalized.

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Davis Land

Davis Land

General Assignments Reporter

Davis Land is a general assignment reporter for Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media/Transom.org in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a...

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