Erlanger filing says Walker County commissioner 'delusional' over debt

Shannon Whitfield

Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield's plan to pay back Erlanger Health System is "too little, too late," an attorney for the hospital said this week.

In a filing for the lawsuit between Erlanger and the county, Karen Bragman wrote Tuesday that Whitfield's plan would pay Erlanger less than what the county owes. After negotiations between the two sides broke down in August, Whitfield created a designated tax to pay the hospital $7.5 million through the end of 2020.

The county owes Erlanger $8.7 million, plus interest, because the local government backed the hospital's loan to Hutcheson Medical Center in 2011. Interest on the loan has grown to about $240,000, Bragman said, and continues to increase by $141 every day.

On Oct. 23, Erlanger filed a complaint and asked U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy to order Walker County to pay the full amount.