published Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Hutcheson board approves new Chattanooga-based management company

Hutcheson Medical Center
Hutcheson Medical Center
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hutcheson Medical Center will be managed by a Chattanooga-based health care company founded by a physician/entrepreneur who previously owned and operated North Park Hospital in Hixson, according to a news release from Hutcheson.

At a called meeting Monday night, Hutcheson board members approved the management contract with GB Health Management, founded by Mike Aiken this year.

Board members also OK'd selling Hutcheson's interest in Battlefield Imaging to co-owner Diagnostic Radiology Consultants for an estimated $5.2 million.

The new management contract and money from the sale of the imaging center are aimed at supporting Hutcheson's turnaround, according to the news release.

Board members also voted to sign a note to Walker County for a $1 million loan Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell is granting the hospital for temporary cash flow needs pending the sale of the Battlefield Imaging interests, the news release stated.

Aiken founded HealthCorp, the former owner of North Park Hospital, in 1987 and later sold controlling interest in 1993.

Aiken has previously worked with Hutcheson's chief executive, T. Farrell Hayes, who had served as the Fort Oglethorpe's chief financial officer and chief operating officer from 1982 to 1987. Hayes left Hutcheson to join Aiken and HealthCorp.

GB Health Management will immediately begin working on a strategic plan to stabilize and then grow hospital business with emphasis on efficiency, physician relations, specialty and sub-specialty health care services, such as cardiology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, orthopedics, oncology and general surgery, the release stated.

"The value, performance and quality of the hospital are incredibly strong in spite of the debt challenges created under previous administrations," Aiken said in the news release. GB Management has worked with the hospital in recent months to outline a plan for long-term financial success.

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