published Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Catoosa County won't loan any more money to Hutcheson Medical Center

Catoosa County won't loan any more money to Hutcheson Medical Center.

At their meeting this morning, county commissioners declined to loan $2 million that the financially troubled Fort Oglethorpe hospital sought.

"We are at the point where we can no longer provide any interim or stop-gap measures for the hospital … without putting our taxpayers at risk," commission Chairman Keith Greene said.

Walker and Catoosa counties already backed $6 million in temporary financing plus another $20 million that Erlanger Health System loaned to Hutcheson through an agreement under which Erlanger managed Hutcheson, said county commissioner Jim Cutler.

"We tried to give ... the financial revenue to turn the hospital around," Cutler said. "It just hasn't happened."

The hospital needs the $2 million to make payroll, Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said on Nov. 25, when she held a special meeting to announce she would back a loan of up to $2 million — provided Catoosa County or Dade County also supported the loan.

Hutcheson spokeswoman Stacey Kaufmann said, "We did payroll last week. Payroll went through just fine."

The three counties created the hospital authority decades ago.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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