Hutcheson Says It Will Vigorously Defend Erlanger Lawsuit

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hutcheson Medical Center and its boards of directors announced the hospital will vigorously defend a lawsuit filed last week by Erlanger Health System and "will remain focused on rebuilding a thriving north Georgia community medical center."

Hutcheson officials said, "The damages we have sustained due to Erlanger’s breach of a management agreement far exceed the amount of any line of credit or other debt owed by Hutcheson to Erlanger."

Hospital and county officials "noted that the successes realized by Hutcheson while rebuilding the hospital in recent years are attributable to the work of the hospital staff rather than Erlanger’s management. The hospital’s self-generated successes are among the reasons officials said they announced in November that Hutcheson would remain independently operated following the conclusion of its contract with Erlanger earlier in the year. The decision came after the medical center tried unsuccessfully to find a new management partner committed to ensuring Hutcheson remains a comprehensive hospital with the services necessary to support the communities of Walker, Catoosa and Dade counties, including general surgery, pulmonology, gastroenterology and orthopedics."

Hutcheson officials said the North Georgia community "is an attractive market for regional hospitals, and while Erlanger expressed interest in investing in the community, few were made. Instead, they say, Erlanger sought to transfer patients out of North Georgia to its main hospital in Chattanooga. Erlanger failed to address the needs of the citizens of the tri-county or Hutcheson. Officials noted that Hutcheson’s debt rose under Erlanger’s management and in the first year of the hospital’s contract alone, the hospital’s admissions dropped by the same margin Erlanger’s Walker and Catoosa County admissions rose.

"In just a few months of independent operation, Hutcheson launched initiatives to add state-of-the art technology, including a new CT scanner and two outpatient GI suites at Hutcheson on the Parkway, grow the number of outpatient clinics and expand operating hours for better community convenience. Meanwhile, hospital leaders are working to find solutions to the debt challenges, which grew under Erlanger’s management, so that Hutcheson can remain fiscally strong and operate independently."

Corky Jewell, chairman of the Hutcheson Medical Center board of directors, said, “In spite of the challenges created by past administrations and Erlanger’s management, we remain confident that we have the partners and resources to turn the corner and make this hospital the thriving community healthcare institution it used to be.”

According to Walker County attorney Don Oliver, Walker County and Region’s Bank are providing support of the hospital’s ongoing financial needs. He said, “We are surprised and disappointed that Erlanger’s leaders filed this lawsuit in an attempt to distract attention away from their own financial problems. We were working with Erlanger officials last week to discuss a mutual settlement of claims – at a meeting Erlanger requested – while they were covertly drafting a lawsuit. ”

Attorney Chad Young, who represents Catoosa County, said, “Catoosa County has been and remains supportive of Hutcheson and remains unified with Hutcheson and Walker County in the defense of any litigation filed by Erlanger and the pursuit of any claims or counterclaims on behalf of Hutcheson against Erlanger for its breaches of the Management Agreement.”




Firefighters Battle Hard To Access Trailer Fire Monday Afternoon

Chattanooga Fire Department was dispatched to 955 O'Grady Dr. at 2:45 p.m. on Monday on multiple reports of a structure fire. A heavy black column of smoke could be seen from Highway 27 as firetrucks from downtown Station 1 responded around the river. Upon arrival, it was discovered that the fully-engulfed structure was an occupied residence sitting close to a quarter of mile ... (click for more)

Corker, Perdue Back Trump Plan On Afghanistan

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he supports President Donald J. Trump’s stance on the way forward in Afghanistan.   Senator Corker said, “I had the opportunity to talk with Secretary Tillerson in advance of this evening’s address, and while I look forward to receiving additional details, I support the direction President ... (click for more)

The Soul Of Chattanooga Is In Trouble

As a child growing up in the Chattanooga area, at an early age I became fascinated with the history that cloaks the city. In those days there was enough pollution to cover the town and its history but that didn't stop tourists from coming to visit Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and the Chickamauga battlefield.     Chattanooga's leadership was not very far sighted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Writing From Bragg Avenue

Far and away, my favorite comment on destroying statues appeared on my Facebook page the other day and, believe it or not, it was the clear-minded Times Free Press Sports Editor Stephen Hargis who penned, “This statue offends me! It must be torn down!” Underneath his fiery words, the long-suffered UT football fan posted a picture of the bronze monument outside of Bryant-Denny stadium ... (click for more)

No. 25 Vols Work On Situational Football On Monday

Tennessee held Monday morning's fall camp practice at Neyland Stadium as coach Burch Jones and the Vols, who are ranked No. 25 in the preseason Associated Press poll, focused on situational football. "Right now, we have to have the discipline to execute," Jones said. "Football is too hard of a game as it is from the technical aspect of things, from fundamentals, effort ... (click for more)

UTC's Mueller Named SoCon Soccer Player Of The Week

 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore Jordan Mueller (Hendersonville, Tenn.) was named the Southern Conference women's soccer Player of the Week the league office announced Tuesday.   Mueller led the Mocs to a season opening win over Austin Peay with two goals and an assist on the game winner. She leads Chattanooga in scoring with five points. She has six ... (click for more)