Arkansas hospital files for bankruptcy

De Queen (Ark.) Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 3.

In its bankruptcy petition, De Queen Medical Center listed its assets as between $1 million and $10 million and listed its liabilities in the same range.

The bankruptcy filing comes after the hospital, owned by a subsidiary of Kansas City, Mo.-based EmpowerHMS, has faced financial challenges for months. Electricity was temporarily shut off in some parts of the hospital in February due to nonpayment, and the hospital recently stopped providing patient care.

In a ruling issued March 28, a judge in Arkansas temporarily barred EmpowerHMS from transferring the hospital's assets.

"There is a real and present danger that the assets of [De Queen Medical Center] are being dissipated and not used for providing the [hospital's] essential medical services, including payment of employees and healthcare professionals," Sevier County Circuit Judge Tom Cooper's order said.

The hospital's bankruptcy petition, which is pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, was signed by EmpowerHMS President and CEO Jorge Perez.

On April 4, the bankruptcy court clerk filed a notice outlining several deficiencies with the bankruptcy filing. If Mr. Perez and his lawyers fail to correct the issues by April 17, certain documents may be stricken or the bankruptcy case could be dismissed, according to court documents.

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