Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell is happier with the situation at Hutcheson Medical Center than she's been in a long time.
"This is the first time I've really felt good about this thing since we first started, I'm happy to say," she said at her most recent commissioner's meeting last week.
Shortly after that meeting, Erlanger Hospital System's board met and approved a letter of intent to lease Hutcheson. A feasibility study must be conducted before the finalized lease is
approved by both Erlanger's and Hutcheson's boards.
The deadline for a finalized lease is Aug. 9. If the deadline is not met, Hutcheson will be able to put the lease out for bid.
Heiskell said this leasing agreement is essential in eliminating the approximately $60 million in debt Hutcheson has acquired.
After meeting last week with Erlanger CEO Kevin Spiegel, Heiskell said she feels optimistic about Hutcheson's future in the community.
"He thinks the way I think," she said, explaining that her previous concerns that Erlanger might make the hospital an emergency room feeder to its main campus have been resolved. "I really like him. I'm pleased that he had some good ideas."
Heiskell said she is also pleased to see Roger Forgey will remain as Hutcheson's administrator.