20 lawsuits over surgeries cause Wyoming hospital to file for bankruptcy

A hospital in Powell, Wyo., has filed for bankruptcy as it faces about 20 lawsuits over surgeries performed by orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Hansen, MD, according to the Powell Tribune.

The board of directors for Powell (Wyo.) Valley Healthcare, a single hospital system, unanimously approved filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday. The board said the only reason for the decision is a flood of litigation over surgeries performed by Dr. Hansen.

"Except for the litigation arising out of alleged events from several years ago, which has caused a tremendous strain in personnel time and finances at the hospital, PVHC would not be in bankruptcy," the board said in a statement.

Former patients of Dr. Hansen brought the lawsuits over surgeries performed in 2013 and prior. Dr. Hansen was employed by Powell Valley Healthcare from 2006 through February 2014. He resigned after his suspension over "patient safety concerns," according to the report.

In a prepared statement, the Powell Valley Healthcare board said filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy will allow the hospital to effectively deal with the lawsuits while not disrupting operations.

The board said there are no planned layoffs or staff reductions due to the bankruptcy filing. Powell Valley Healthcare CFO Mike Long told the Powell Tribune that the organization had about 400 employees in fiscal year 2015, 313 of whom work full time.

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