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Hutcheson Hospital and Medical Center stands in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., in this October 21, 2015, file photo.

FORT OGLETHORPE — During their monthly board meeting Wednesday, Hutcheson Medical Center leaders questioned a recent court report indicating the hospital's staff is overworked and unfairly treated.

Susan Goodman, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court-appointed ombudsman, filed a report Monday saying the hospital's staff has suffered from two rounds of layoffs and pay cuts. She also said the hospital's leaders closed clinics without making an announcement, left patients confused about how to get their old medical records and intimidated employees to withhold information from Goodman.

Walker County Attorney Don Oliver told board members Goodman's report is inaccurate.

"I've been concerned with the reports of this ombudsman from day one and don't understand exactly what she's been doing or why she's been doing it," said Oliver, who also serves as the attorney for the Hospital Authority of Dade, Walker and Catoosa counties. "We got a clean bill of health."

He added: "The state sent in a team that went through here with a fine-tooth comb after that ombudsman's report."

Sandra Siniard, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care, told board members the Georgia Department of Health and Human Services' Healthcare Facility Regulation division inspected Hutcheson for two days.

Siniard said the state employees approved of the hospital's "conditions of participation," governing body, quality of patient care, nursing, patient medical records, medical staff credentials, policies and contracts.

Ron Glass, the court-appointed trustee who began overseeing the hospital's finances Sept. 23, spoke to the board for the first time.

He blamed the media for costing Hutcheson money by reporting on the hospital's Bankruptcy Court filings, including accusations from the U.S. bankruptcy trustee that hospital leaders abused the bankruptcy system and defrauded employees of health insurance.

Glass also said he has interviewed patients, employees and patients' family members to understand how people feel about the hospital.

"My primary goal is patient care," he told the board. "I want to make sure we're providing excellent patient care, and I feel good about that."

Hutcheson CEO Farrell Hayes said he did not have monthly financial figures to report to the board during the part of the meeting that is open to the public.

The board voted to potentially transfer some property from the Hospital Authority board to the Hutcheson Medical Center board.

The board believes this legal technicality will help the hospital sell some property. Because the HMC board — and not the Authority board — is in bankruptcy, HMC has to own the property to transfer its title to a potential buyer.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.

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