Hospital enters into talks with Bowling Green Medical Center

Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm

It’s been just over a year since Clinton County Hospital Chief Executive Officer J.D. Mullins announced it was filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to keep it’s doors open and continue to serve the community.

Now, Mullins has told the Clinton County News, the local hospital is working with a Bowling Green, Kentucky company in hopes of eventually seeing ownership of the local health care facility acquired by the group that now owns several hospitals in south central Kentucky.

According to a release given to the Clinton County News Monday morning by Mullins, the Clinton County Hospital Board of Directors voted in a meeting last week to initiate discussions regarding a potential acquisition by Commonwealth Health Corporation (CHC).

That company, CHC, is a not-for-profit parent company of the Medical Centers in Bowling Green, Scottsville and Franklin, Kentucky, all communities just to the west of Albany and Clinton County.

“The Board of Directors asked CHC to evaluate operations at Clinton County Hospital to determine the feasibility of Commonwealth Health Corporation assuming ownership and operation of Clinton County Hospital,” the prepared release said.

In that same release, Mullins was quoted as making a brief explanation of the stage in which the process is currently at.

“In an effort to help stabilize operations of our hospital and to have access to the capital needed to support its ongoing mission in service to the local community, Clinton County Hospital invited Commonwealth Health Corporation to analyze our facility, services and financial position and to meet with our local physicians,” Mullins said. “This review is in it’s preliminary stage and no time frame was set for it’s conclusion.”

The only additional information Mullins would give was that the next step in the process would see Commonwealth Health executives meeting with local physicians who are on staff at the hospital.

In October of last year, Mullins told the Clinton County News that the local hospital had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

That announcement came six years – now seven – after the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) financed a building addition that resulted in a three-story facility that was designed to bring state of the art health care to Albany and Clinton County.

That addition came at a cost of nearly $15 million and added some 55,000 square feet to the already 46,000 square footage being utilized.

At the time of the original announcement, Mullins stressed that the bankruptcy did not mean the local health care facility was closing, but was taking the measure in hopes of eventually restructuring the corporate debt, most of which involved the financing of the new portion of the facility.

Mullins, in that October, 2014 statement with the Clinton County News, placed much of the blame for Clinton County Hospital’s financially strapped situation on the facility’s dependency of Medicare and Medicaid patients and payments.

“Over 80 percent of our business is Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare’s payment policies in addition to the cuts required by sequestration have reduced our income substantially,” Mullins explained said last year. “Medicaid is now being operated by several Health Management Organizations. These companies’ polices have restricted access to the hospital’s services and reduced our reimbursement even more.”

That effort to restructure the financial burden the facility was operating under apparently was successful, according to the most recent development that came to light just a few months ago when it was reported that the debt amount had been significantly reduced.

In August of this year, Mullins told the Clinton County News that as a result of meetings and hearings surrounding the bankruptcy procedure, the debt had been reduced by over one-half.

“We’re not out of bankruptcy, but we have settled with the USDA,” Mullins told the Clinton County News in August during a brief interview. “We no longer owe them almost $18 million, but we now owe them $8.465 million.”

Mullins said the change in the amount of debt owed to the USDA in the bankruptcy came following meetings and hearings surrounding the Chapter 11 proceedings.

At that time, Mullins described the most recent development as being one that would at least keep the doors open and breathe a little new life into the situation.

“This is no guarantee that the hospital will flourish, but it does give us a fighting chance” Mullins said in August.