January 29, 2023

HOUSTON – Nate and Christina Cloutier try to spend every minute they have to make their 2-year-old son Kennedy forget his pain.

Kennedy is battling a rare type of cancer with a 30 percent chance of survival.

“My son was diagnosed with ATRT. It’s a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer that affects children under the age of three,” said Christina.

The Cloutiers are already dealing with astronomical medical bills, but now they have a new issue to worry about… a 27% increase in parking fees at Texas Medical Center’s parking lots.

This is a problem for the family as they sometimes have to go to the parking lots four or five times a week to take care of their son. P

How does the family feel about the price increase?

“It’s not fair. If your child is sick, you don’t have to worry about the parking fee. That’s the least of your worries, and you shouldn’t have to worry about getting out of the parking garage,” Christina said.

On January 1, 2023, Texas Medical Center, which serves 10 million patients a year and employs over 100,000 medical workers, suddenly increased its parking fee from $15 to $19 for people who park 10 hours or more a day.

It’s the second time the TMC has hiked rates in the last five years.

KPRC 2 Investigates requested an interview with TMC officials multiple times Monday to ask why the massive healthcare system would do so, especially when the price of almost everything is skyrocketing due to inflation.

The hospital released the following statement, which reads in part:

“On January 1, 2023, TMC increased parking rates for the maximum rate band (10-24 hours). This was decided due to the cost increase in operating the park program. We are still within the competitive rates for the area in and around our campus.”

Richard Rogers is one of 80 volunteer drivers for Houston Ground Angels, a charity that saves patients parking costs at TMC by providing them with free rides to and from the medical center.

He also thinks the increase in parking fees at the medical center is unfair and unjust for patients who are already struggling with huge medical bills.

“It just puts a lot more financial pressure on people who are already burdened. These are families who won’t be able to get a bank loan or max out a credit card that’s already maxed out,” Richard said.

If you’re having trouble paying for parking at TMC, we have a few solutions for you.

1. Contact The Candle Lighters, a charity that provides families fighting childhood cancer with vouchers to pay for parking at the medical center.

2. Houston Ground Angels is a group of volunteer drivers who provide transportation to and from the medical center for families in need. (Houston Ground Angels is a non-profit group that needs more volunteers to help with the program).

Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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