Hutcheson Medical Center CEO Farrell Hayes informed other hospital leaders this morning that an official offer for most of the hospital will soon be filed.
According to internal emails, Prime Healthcare Services has offered $7 million to buy the hospital's main campus, surgery center, childcare center and most of Hutcheson's real estate. The offer does not include Parkside Nursing Home, which a New York company has offered to buy for $7.2 million.
Prime Healthcare Services is a California-based company that specializes in buying community hospitals like Hutcheson and turning them into for-profit organizations. Paul Ferdinands, an Atlanta-based attorney who represents Prime in this potential purchase, said the company specializes in turning around struggling hospitals.
Last month, a U.S. Bankruptcy judge approved Prime Healthcare's purchase of Southern Regional Healthcare Services in Clayton County, Ga.
"We're ready, wiling and able to move very quickly," Ferdinands said today. "My client is used to dealing with situations that are in need of operational restructuring."
Multiple groups will fight this purchase in court. Erlanger Medical Center, which says Hutcheson owes it about $30 million, has already opposed the sale of Hutcheson's nursing home.
And Walker County Attorney Don Oliver said last month that Regions Bank has opposed negotiations with Prime Healthcare. Regions is owed about $33 million because Hutcheson defaulted on loan payments it took out around 2008. The bank and Erlanger hold secured debt, meaning they can try to foreclose on Hutcheson properties if the Fort Oglethorpe hospital fails to pay them back.
About $80 million in debt, Hutcheson filed for bankruptcy last November.
This morning, Oliver wrote in an email to other attorneys involved in the case that Walker County plans to file a motion to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge, asking the judge to approve the sale.
"Progress must be made this morning toward the Trustee and/or Regons accepting this bid," he wrote, "or else Walker County will proceed to file a motion."
Oliver did not immediately return a call seeking comment.