Tri-Lakes Medical

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Corkern hospital firm objects to release of ‘prejudicial’ report

By John Howell

Batesville Hospital Management Inc. has filed an objection to release of a document ordered sealed in the bankruptcy Tri-Lakes Medical Center bankruptcy proceedings.

The Panolian and The North Mississippi Herald newspapers filed a motion on February 23 seeking release of information contained in an audit document known as the “Decosimo Report.” The report contains a preliminary audit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David Houston ordered the report sealed when it was accepted on January 30.

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The newspapers in their motion stated “… that it would be in the best interest of the public, … to know and have the opportunity to analyze the Report…” the newspapers’ motion stated.

Release of the information was originally opposed by Craig Geno, attorney for Physicians and Surgeons Hospital Group, Inc., the non-profit corporation which owns the hospital. At an April 16 hearing before Judge Houston, hospital attorneys agreed to a compromise with the newspapers’ attorney, Joe Pegram of Oxford, which would allow the report to be released after interested parties had been notified and given opportunity to object to the release.

Batesville Hospital Management (BHM) objected “to the release of the Decosimo Report generally and specifically to the parties in the motion,” it stated in its “Objection to Release of Report” filed May 2. “The prejudicial effect of the Decosimo Report far outweighs any benefit to be obtained by the release of the report,” the objection continued.

Batesville Hospital Management, Inc. is a for-profit corporation created September 27, 2005. Robert S. Corkern is listed as president in the Mississippi Secretary of State’s web site. BHM is one of four for-profit entities in which Corkern has interest that shared in almost $4 million paid by the non-profit Physicians and Surgeons Hospital Group from 2005 through 2007, according to information released by Tri-Lakes in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Tri-Lakes has been in chapter 11 reorganizational bankruptcy since August, 2007. In December, the bankruptcy court appointed Health Management Partners, LLC as hospital administrator and its managing director, Michael Morgan, as the hospital’s chief restructuring officer (CRO).

The hospital was recently approved for a 180-day extension of its post-petition interim financing, Morgan said. That means that the facility has been granted a six-month extension for operating money, an extension that had previously been of only two months’ duration, the CRO said.