Arkansas hospital operator ousted over 'real and present danger' to assets

In a ruling issued March 28, a judge in Arkansas temporarily barred the owner and operator of De Queen (Ark.) Medical Center from transferring the facility's assets, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

"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.

De Queen Medical Center is one of several hospitals owned and operated by Kansas City, Mo.-based EmpowerHMS, which has experienced financial troubles in recent 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, according to the report.

In addition to barring De Queen Medical's owners from transferring its assets, the judge also appointed the hospital's director of nursing as temporary receiver. She will take over management of the hospital's bank accounts, licenses and interactions with vendors and employees, according to the report.

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