Utilities may be shut off if Kansas hospital fails to pay

Hillsboro (Kan.) Community Hospital, a critical access facility, must settle a payment to avoid having its utilities shut off at noon on Jan. 11, according to a Marion County Record report.

The city of Hillsboro is owed $28,644.31 in unpaid utility bills, the Marion County Record reports. A check for the hospital's October utility bill bounced last month, and the city is still waiting for payment for the months of November and December. The hospital is also reportedly behind on rent by $7,412.50, according to the report.

Hillsboro Community Hospital is managed by Kansas City, Mo.-based EmpowerHMS, which also operates hospitals in Tennessee and Oklahoma.

But Hillsboro city officials and other city leaders have reportedly expressed concerns about EmpowerHMS and if their respective community hospitals will survive under the company's management, according to The Kansas City Star.

As of Dec. 13, Prague (Okla.) Community Hospital, which is also managed by EmpowerHMS, was a week behind on payroll and saw its malpractice insurance lapse. Other Oklahoma hospitals managed by the company, including Fairfax Community Hospital, were also behind on payroll during the same period.

EmpowerHMS CEO Jorge Perez didn't respond to Becker's requests for comment. An associate of Mr. Perez who has supported his rural hospital management efforts acknowledged to The Kansas City Star that EmpowerHMS is struggling financially but said the issues are temporary.


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