Hospital bankruptcy case ends
After 17 months in bankruptcy court, Hillsboro Community Hospital has emerged from bankruptcy protection.
At the request of the bankruptcy’s trustee, a judge dismissed the case Thursday.
Trent Skaggs, chief executive officer of the company that now owns the hospital, said he was unaware of what might happen to any hospital debts not resolved during bankruptcy. He said Tuesday his company bought the hospital without responsibility to pay pre-bankruptcy debts.
The case began when mortgage holder Bank of Hays filed suit in January 2019 to foreclose a mortgage. The city of Hillsboro was a co-defendant because it leased a portion of the property to HCH. Shortly thereafter, the bank and the city jointly filed a motion to have a receiver appointed.
Cohesive Healthcare Management and Consulting of Shawnee, Oklahoma, was appointed receiver Jan. 18, 2019.
In March 2019, Cohesive was appointed to manage the hospital’s parent company after numerous allegations came to light. They included that the state was threatening to revoke the company’s license; that Medicare was threatening to terminate payments; that no governing body was present; that the firm’s parent company, which owned several other hospitals, was under criminal investigation by the federal government; that other hospitals owned by the same company had been abruptly closed; and that the parent company had entered a management agreement for its hospitals.
That same month Cohesive, the hospital’s receiver, also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
In November, HCH’s bankruptcy judge approved sale of the hospital to Rural Hospital Group Consolidated, a Kansas City firm that had bid $6.9 million. RHG’s officers formerly managed HCH under the company name Rural Community Hospitals of America.
In other communities, RHG has not led to stable hospital operation. Sumner County Hospital in Wellington, also operated by RHG, abruptly closed its doors in March.
A telephone number listed on RHG’s website no longer works. Skaggs sent a different phone number to reach the company.
The Hillsboro hospital has been well-supported by Hillsboro residents and medical staff, RHG president Larry Arthur said Monday.
The eight-bed hospital typically has six to eight beds filled, he said.
Arthur said the hospital in Wellington was not being supported by area physicians, and the company worked with city leaders to end its lease because not enough patients were being admitted.
Arthur said he didn’t foresee similar problems at HCH.
“I’m just very happy that there’s not another rural hospital closing,” he said.