West Virginia health system files for bankruptcy

Thomas Health, a two-hospital system based in South Charleston, W.Va., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 10.

The bankruptcy process will help Thomas Health address its long-term debt and pursue strategic opportunities, according to a Jan. 10 news release.

In an affidavit filed in the bankruptcy case, Thomas Health President and CEO Daniel J. Lauffer cited several reasons the health system is facing financial challenges.

"Due to macro issues negatively affecting the delivery of healthcare in West Virginia, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the decline of the coal industry and corresponding job losses, Medicaid expansion, reduced reimbursement rates for healthcare services, patient outmigration, as well as a host of other issues arising from changes in the healthcare laws over the past decade, the debtors have experienced significant financial challenges in recent years," reads Mr. Lauffer's affidavit. "Those challenges coupled with the burden of servicing an overwhelming amount of indebtedness, have impaired the debtors' ability to meet important working capital and operational needs, maintain ordinary course business relationships, pursue strategic opportunities, recruit medical professionals, and otherwise reinvest in their operations and facilities in order to grow revenue to further their mission."

Officials said Thomas Health is not closing and there are no planned changes to services or employment.

"We appreciate our community's support as we continue serving the best interests of our patients, employees, physicians and all those whose livelihoods will be positively impacted by Thomas Health's mission to each of communities that we proudly serve," Mr. Lauffer said in the news release.

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