Hospital may close if court doesn’t award full control to new management group

Last week, the Bank of Hays and City of Hillsboro pleaded with the court to allow Cohesive to have full power over both the management of Hillsboro Community Hospital and the corporate affairs of its owner in order to avoid the hospital being shut down completely.

The emergency motion to extend Cohesive’s responsibility was filed in the district court of Marion County on Wednesday. On Thursday, the court issued a notice that a hearing will take place at 10 a.m. on March 5 at the Marion County District Court in Marion.

The document filed on Wednesday explained that the State of Kansas has now cited the hospital for various deficiencies that existed before Cohesive took over. So unless Cohesive can have full authority over both HCH and CAH Acquisition Company #5, the owner of the hospital when Cohesive took over, HCH will be shut down.

The motion lists all of the issues from Cohesive’s initial report that the Free Press reported on as well as additional issues including that CAH and Empower have refused to work with Cohesive to reinstate vital services to the hospital, the hospital had no critical medicine on site when Cohesive took over, a 29 page statement of deficiencies and plan of correction from the state and more.

Based on the deficiencies, the hospital was notified that the Kansas Department of Health and Human Services is recommending termination of the hospital’s medicare provider agreement by April 9, 2019 unless the necessary corrections are made.

The one day response to the motion filed on Wednesday is a change from previous filings. The week before, the clerk of the court gave a 14 day extension to one of the new defendants on the case, Security Bank of Kansas City. The bank was given until Feb. 22 to answer or otherwise respond to the lawsuit.

And on Jan. 29, the court gave an extension to CAH to allow more time to answer the Petition for Foreclosure.

Part of the reason for the swift response of a hearing date set, could be related to one of the sections in Wednesday’s document that discusses the fact that CAH’s parent company Empower, as well as other companies connected to both, are currently under investigation by the United States Department of Justice according to an exhibit filed on Jan. 23.

It goes on to list the other CAH and Co hospitals that are being mismanaged causing courts to get involved including a hospital in the Western District of Tennessee (Lauderdale Community Hospital) and a hospital in Prague, Oklahoma. Lauderdale had a special master appointed by the court on Feb. 1. Prague Community Hospital filed a temporary restraining order against CAH on Feb. 7 and has a hearing set for Tuesday, Feb. 19 regarding an appointment of receiver.

Other hospitals managed by those connected with Empower and CAH companies are not mentioned in the lawsuit but have been facing their own issues. According to a Feb. 14 article in the Kansas City Star, Oswego Community Hospital in Kansas closed it’s doors last week. Washington County Hospital in Plymouth, North Carolina temporarily closed on Feb. 14 according to a post on Feb. 15 by WNCT9.

I-70 Hospital announced a temporary suspension of services on their website. Many other hospitals under the Empower umbrella have been placed under receivership or are seeking to be. City leaders in Williston, Florida are asking for receivership in federal court according to WCJB ABC’s post on Feb. 8.

With several hospitals already closed and others on the brink of closure, it will be interesting to see how Hillsboro Community Hospital pulls through this. Hopefully there will be more answers after the hearing on March 5.

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