Erlanger Files Notice To Foreclose On Hutcheson Medical Center Property, Recoup $20+Million; Hutcheson Calls Move "Shameful"

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Officials with the Erlanger Health System have initiated formal foreclosure proceedings against Hutcheson Medical Center "as part of the effort to recoup moneys owed to Erlanger pursuant to the management agreement signed three years ago between the two healthcare providers."

Farrell Hayes, president and CEO of Hutcheson Medical Center, responded, “In negotiating a settlement over the management contract, Hutcheson made an offer that would have allowed for full repayment of the $20 million loan to Erlanger. It is shameful that Erlanger, which just posted a huge profit this week, would refuse that offer and instead seek to close a small community hospital.”

Hutcheson board members received notification of Erlanger’s intentions to foreclose on Hutcheson property on Thursday, along with a copy of public Notice of Sale submitted to Catoosa and Walker County legal publications. The sale under the security deed is scheduled for the first Tuesday in August on the steps of the Catoosa County Courthouse in Ringgold.

Under the terms of the management agreement, signed April 25, 2011, Erlanger agreed to provide management services to Hutcheson and, in addition thereto, issued a line of credit for $20 million in an effort to save the failing facility, officials said.  

Erlanger’s $20 million line of credit was secured by the real property and improvements on Hutcheson’s main campus in Fort Oglethorpe and further guaranteed by Walker and Catoosa Counties, up to $10 million per county, it was stated. At the time Erlanger signed this agreement, Hutcheson was losing $1.5 million a month.

Erlanger officials said, "In May 2013 Erlanger loaned Hutcheson an additional $550,000 to further assist the hospital in meeting payroll obligations.  In November of 2013, Hutcheson terminated the management agreement with Erlanger.  Since that time Erlanger has attempted on numerous occasions to come to a mutual agreement as to an effective termination and timely repayment of all moneys owed by Hutcheson to Erlanger.  Erlanger is willing to continue to have further dialogue with Hutcheson to resolve this issue in an amicable manner."   

“Erlanger dedicated well over $20 million and other invaluable resources to Hutcheson to ensure it would continue to meet the healthcare needs of the northwest Georgia community,” said Erlanger President and CEO Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE.  “Without exception, Erlanger met its obligations to Hutcheson under the management agreement.”

Erlanger officials said, "Despite Hutcheson’s repeated threats to terminate the agreement, Erlanger continued to work with Hutcheson in exploring the feasibility of continuing its relationship through a long-term lease agreement, including a submission of a response to Hutcheson’s request for proposals, said officials."

“We were the only qualified bid responder to Hutcheson’s RFP for a long-term lease agreement,” said Erlanger’s Chief Financial Officer Britt Tabor.

Erlanger’s Board Chairman Donnie Hutcherson said, “We have acted in good faith with regards to Hutcheson, but the time has come to expect repayment. As a responsible health care provider, an organization that fulfills its mission and conducts business in an orderly fashion, Erlanger must enforce its rights to full recovery of this loan.”

Erlanger officials stated, "Foreclosure does not necessarily mean that Hutcheson will cease operations as the community’s hospital.  On the contrary, the purchaser at the foreclosure sale will make the decision as to whether the facility remains or does not remain as Hutcheson Medical Center.  Regardless, Erlanger remains committed to meeting its longstanding and continued support of the health care needs of northwest Georgia."

"Erlanger is fully entitled to recover our $20.5+ million in loans to Hutcheson,” Mr. Spiegel said.  “Our employees and their families, our medical staff, the community we serve and our bondholders would expect nothing less.”


PHOTOS: Swearing In Ceremony At Convention Center

Woman Charged With Filing False Report Leading To Amber Alert

A Chattanooga woman has been charged with filing a false report after she falsely said her child was missing, setting off an Amber Alert. At approximately 12:20 p.m., the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 4026 Shallowford Road in reference to a child abduction. Letrice Patterson, 32, the child’s aunt, said her silver 2010 Mercury Muron was stolen and the child was ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Fast-Starting Vols Gear Up For Another Mobile QB

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It’s a new week for Tennessee’s football team, but the challenge that awaits in Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon will be a familiar reminder of the one the Volunteers just completed. The Volunteers have a short week to prepare for Arkansas State, a team much like Utah State, which relies heavily on a dual-threat quarterback and a physical front line. ... (click for more)

Chris O'Brien And Andres Santiago Named To Southern League's Weekly Honors

Tuesday, the Southern League announced that Chattanooga Lookouts’ catcher Chris O’Brien has been named Southern League Player of the Week and pitcher Andres Santiago was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for the period of August 25-September 1.  O’Brien is the fourth Chattanooga Lookouts’ position player to earn a weekly accolade from the league this season while ... (click for more)