Georgia hospital to close after judge denies attempt to keep doors open

Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.-based Hutcheson Medical Center CEO Farrell Hayes emailed employees Tuesday, telling them he could not save the financially troubled hospital, according to a Times Free Press report.

The news came after a judge denied a motion to keep the hospital open for another month.

The distressed hospital, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection about a year ago, will now begin the process of shutting down. Mr. Hayes said he expects the bankruptcy court-appointed trustee to begin laying off hospital staff this week, according to the report.

Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services showed interest in buying Hutcheson earlier this month. However, Hutcheson's debtors weren't satisfied with Prime's offer.

Mr. Hayes told the Times Free Press his fight to keep the hospital open is over. "I'm giving up," he said.

Despite laying off 128 employees in recent months, Hutcheson does not have enough cash flow to support itself. The hospital still employs about 500 people, 150 of which will be gone by Dec. 4. Most of the employees who will remain on staff work at a nursing home Hutcheson plans to sell next month.  

Ronald Glass, the trustee in the hospital's bankruptcy case, plans for the hospital to stop accepting patients Nov. 27. The hospital is scheduled to close Dec. 4.

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