Hospital acquisition nearly finalized

Item File PhotoThe Walker County Hospital District is expected to take over operations at Huntsville Memorial Hospital, in a partnership with Community Hospital Corporation.

Walker County’s provider of indigent care is close to finalizing its acquisition of Huntsville Memorial Hospital, ending months of negotiations on a deal that could have far-reaching impacts on the future of health care in Huntsville.

The deal would place Huntsville’s lone hospital and its nearly 400 employees under the umbrella of a joint-venture board between the Walker County Hospital District — a local government entity — and Community Hospital Corporation, a hospital management company headquartered in Plano. Under consideration in Wednesday's meeting will be a purchase agreement and a member substitution agreement.

Hospital district officials announced last week that the Walker County Hospital Corporation — the private group which currently oversees operations — is expected to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy this month.

The corporation has had financial troubles dating back to at least September 2018, four months after the corporation stopped paying its monthly rent to the hospital district. During Septembers meeting, the then interim CO Michael Morgan requested a $2.9 million subsidy for the corporation to meet payroll.

The hospital district is currently owed $5.4 million in missed rent payments.

“The district board has been doing everything in its power to address the corporation’s dire financial situation, including providing substantial financial subsidies to the corporation and deferring rent payments owed to the district,” hospital district chairman Anne Woodard said in a release last week. “The district’s board of managers has been working to stabilize the hospital’s finances because the corporation has been unable to operate the hospital so that it is financially viable.”

Wednesday's meeting will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the hospital district office, located in the First National Bank Building at 1300 11th Street.

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