‘Dead’ Georgia hospital may have been revived

A northwest Georgia hospital that closed its doors Dec. 4 may reopen after all.

Hutcheson Medical Center

Media reports Monday said a U.S. bankruptcy judge has approved a management agreement between Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe and ApolloMD, based in Atlanta.

ApolloMD will pay $4.2 million in cash for Hutcheson, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Fort Oglethorpe is near Chattanooga.

The deal appears to come at the last minute, as the hospital’s license was scheduled to expire Monday.

State Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold), who is also acting as legal counsel for Hutcheson’s governing body, said the Georgia Department of Community Health will now give the parties until Christmas Eve to finish the deal, the Times Free Press reported. 

Also on Monday, Bankruptcy Court Judge Paul Bonapfel approved of Maybrook Healthcare purchasing Hutcheson’s nursing home and child care center, which have continued in operation despite the hospital’s troubles. The price was $7.3 million.

“The sale is in the best interest of the estate,” the judge said, “and in the best interest of all the parties, and, most importantly, in the interest of all the residents.”

The Internet newspaper Chattanoogan.com reported that ApolloMD earlier had been operating the emergency room at Hutcheson.

Hutcheson Medical Center closed its doors to patients Dec. 4 after being unable to strike a deal to avoid a shutdown.

The hospital’s closure came after months under bankruptcy protection. A late bid by California-based Prime Healthcare to purchase the hospital failed to win approval from Hutcheson’s creditors.

Hutcheson is the fifth rural hospital to close in Georgia since the beginning of 2013.

Rob Williamson, an attorney representing the trustee who handles Hutcheson’s finances, said the hospital needs to begin functioning again, the Times Free Press reported Monday.

“The trustee wants to reopen this hospital as soon as possible,” Williamson said. “The more time it’s not operating, the harder it is to reopen.”