A U.S. Trustee dropped his motion to dismiss Hutcheson's bankruptcy case this afternoon.
Martin Ochs, who had asked a judge to end the case last month, decided against the move after testimony Wednesday, when Hutcheson CEO Farrell Hayes said he is about a week away from receiving a formal offer for the hospital.
If Hutcheson lost bankruptcy protection, creditors could move to foreclose on the hospital, which was about $80 million in debt in December. Ochs filed the motion because Hutcheson had incurred another $6.3 million of debt since November, and because its leaders had not filed a reorganization plan — a key aspect of a Ch. 11 bankruptcy.
Hayes testified Wednesday that the whole point of filing for bankruptcy was to give hospital administrators breathing room while trying to find a buyer for the hospital.
Meanwhile, Bankruptcy Court Judge Paul Bonapfel approved Hutcheson's sale of its Trenton clinic to the Dade County government for $350,000. The hospital would have shut the clinic down without the offer, and Dade County Executive Ted Rumley said about 8,000 local residents use it.
Catoosa County officials objected to the sale earlier this week, worrying that it will ultimately cost them money. Catoosa County gave a bank $3.5 million earlier this year to pay back one of Hutcheson's debts. But the county officials want that money back from Hutcheson, eventually.
If the hospital sold the Trenton clinic for less than it's worth, the odds that Catoosa County would ever get its own money back would go down. Basically, they want Hutcheson to have as much money as possible, so that they can eventually slide the $3.5 million back to Catoosa County.
The $350,000 sale of the clinic to Dade County is $200,000 less than than the appraised value of the land. However, Catoosa County officials dropped their objection after talking to Rumley this morning.