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Businessman disappears ahead of bankrupt California hospital sale

Residents of Surprise Valley, Calif., are concerned a proposed deal to sell Cedarville, Calif.-based Surprise Valley Community Hospital may fall through, as the potential buyer has not been seen for weeks and the websites for his healthcare businesses have been shut down, according to California Healthline.

Surprise Valley Health Care District, which operates the 26-bed rural hospital, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in January. Last month, residents agreed to sell the hospital to Beau Gertz, a 34-year-old entrepreneur who owns at least two lab-testing and nutraceutical companies in Denver.

However, Mr. Gertz has reportedly not been seen around town since late spring, and websites for his healthcare businesses have been shut down. Four former employees, who spoke to California Healthline on the condition of anonymity, said they and the rest of his staff in Denver had been laid off, the report states. Mr. Gertz's landlord told the publication earlier in July the Denver office building housing the companies had been empty for weeks.

Mr. Gertz's reported disappearance has worried local residents, some of whom reluctantly voted for the sale to keep the hospital afloat.

Under Mr. Gertz's plan, the hospital would attempt to solve its financial issues by assuming control of one of his Denver labs and billing patients for remote treatments such as telemedicine. Without a buyer, experts told the publication property owners in the district may be responsible for repaying the hospital's mounting debts worth an estimated at $4 million. Mr. Gertz previously agreed to assume the hospital's debt as part of the sale agreement.

The hospital district board, which planned to meet July 25, declined to comment to California Healthline on the status of the sale, but said the proposed deal was "on track."

State officials, who must approve the transaction, told the publication they have not received paperwork indicating a transfer in ownership of management of the hospital.

To access the full report, click here.

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