Huntsville Memorial Hospital

In Walker County, $2.186 million in taxpayer money was used to fund payroll for a private non-profit corporation riddled with a history of inflated salaries, money-losing investments and alleged fraud. 

According to emails obtained by The Item, the Walker County Hospital District — a government entity responsible for indigent care in Walker County — issued eight cash transfers to the Walker County Hospital from November 28, 2018 until January 8, 2019.

Taxpayers spent $2.1M to keep doors open at HMH

Payments made included:

• a $390,000 payment on November 28.

• a $239,000 payment on December 5.

* a $304,000 payment on December 13.

• a $175,000 payment on December 19.

• a $396,000 payment on December 27.

• a $169,000 payment on January 3.

• a $180,000 payment on January 8.

• a $333,000 payment on January 26.

Records show that these payments were made to assist the hospital in “meeting payroll and operating obligations.”

The subsidies, which were approved in September 2018, initially called for $2.9 million, of which $1.6 million was said to be in the form of rent forgiveness. The hospital corporation ceased rent payments in July 2018, amounting to nearly $4.5 million in lost revenue.

However, the hospital district has attempted to recoup some of the lost revenue with two forbearance agreements that provide the district with a security interest in certain properties owned by the corporation.

Officials with the Walker County Hospital District confirmed last week that they are within weeks of finalizing a management agreement to take over operations at Huntsville Memorial.

“We are not wanting to waste any taxpayer money with this,” district chairperson Anne Woodard said last week. “If this was only going to keep the hospital open a year, we wouldn’t do it. We believe this is a viable plan for a long-term future of Huntsville Memorial Hospital.