Lawsuit seeks to oust operator of Oklahoma hospital

The City of Prague (Okla.) filed a lawsuit against the owner of Prague Community Hospital, seeking to have a receiver appointed to immediately assume operational control of the facility, according to The Shawnee News-Star.

"The City Council decided to initiate the lawsuit after the current owners missed payroll and employees reported a concerning lack of supplies and equipment available to treat patients, and in light of the fact that the lease with the City for the hospital property has expired and no efforts had been made to extend it and get caught up on lease payments by the current owners," said Jim Greff, Prague city manager, according to the report.

Prague Community Hospital is one of several hospitals managed by Kansas City, Mo.-based EmpowerHMS, which missed payroll in early December. In an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review on Dec. 26, EmpowerHMS CEO Jorge Perez said Prague Community Hospital is facing the same financial challenges as many other rural hospitals across the nation.

"For the record, every bit of revenue generated by the hospital has gone back into the facility and I have personally invested more money into the facility when there were shortfalls," he said. "At the very best, this would have been the case for any other entity who took it upon themselves to rescue Prague. I knew quite well that turning around the hospital would be a long-term commitment, and I remain vigilante to that objective."

The City of Prague's lawsuit seeks damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, eviction and injunctive relief and an accounting. The city is also trying to secure a new owner or management company to take over the hospital and help stabilize its finances, according to The Shawnee News-Star.

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