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Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell speaks to hospital employees in the lobby of Hutcheson Medical Center in this Oct. 14, 2014, file photo.

Hutcheson’s debts

* Total liabilities: $82 million

* To Regions Bank: $33 million

* To Erlanger Health System: $21.7 million

Source: Hutcheson Medical Center’s Statement of Financial Affairs, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Dec. 15, 2014

Debt since filing for bankruptcy

* Professional fees: $1.8 million

* Hospital’s insurance plan: $1.8 million

* Hutcheson Medical Center Accounts Payable: $900,000

* Payroll taxes: $450,000

* Hutcheson Medical Division Accounts Payable: $50,000

Source: U.S. Trustee’s Motion to Dismiss and for an Expedited Hearing Thereon, Aug. 17, 2015

Hutcheson Medical Center could be sold at auction if a motion made by bankruptcy trustee Ronald Glass is approved by a judge, according to court documents filed Wednesday. 

The 179-bed hospital, which serves Catoosa Walker and Dade Counties and employs more than 800 people, filed for bankruptcy relief in November 2014, but since then has not come up with a plan to reorganize its operations under the current ownership structure.

In fact, a U.S. trustee asked that in August that Hutcheson's bankruptcy protection be rescinded because the hospital incurred an additional $5 million debt and had submitted no plan for reorganization. 

Later in August, the hospital stopped delivering babies and laid off nearly 60 workers in October. 

All the while, the hospital was shopping for a potential buyer. The hospital retained Guggenheim Securities at $50,000 per month to act as their investment banker.

Now, the hospital has determined an auction is its best bet to stay afloat.

"The best and most efficient exit strategy for the debtors from bankruptcy is a sale of some or all of the debtors' assets to one or more purchasers," Glass wrote. 

The auction is necessary and must be executed quickly, Glass argued, because it is better to sell it as a going concern than the alternative under which the hospital would be "forced to cease operations." 

"In light of the debtors' lack of liquidity, it is imperative that the debtors' assets be sold as expeditiously as possible," Glass wrote.

 

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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