Tri-Lakes Medical

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2008

Tri-Lakes responds to rumor of closure

By John Howell Sr.

The average daily patient census at Tri-Lakes Medical Center has reached 58.7 after the malfunction of a major diagnostic instrument earlier this month forced hospital officials to transfer some patients to other facilities.

A Computed Tomagraph (CT) Scanner was out of operation for nine days, reducing the average daily patient census significantly below the 52 patients needed to provide sufficient cash flow for the hospital, Chief Restructuring Officer Michael Morgan said.

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Tri-Lakes has operated in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since August, 2007. Morgan’s firm, Healthcare Management Partners, LLC (HMP), was placed in control last December by U. S. Bankruptcy Judge David Houston to manage and reorganize the facility while a buyer is sought.

The CT Scanner was inoperable for nine days. The CT Scanner “generates three-dimensional images of the insides of an object,” according to Wikipedia. It is used in a variety of diagnostic applications. The drop in the patient census following the failure of the CT Scanner spawned rumors that employees would not receive paychecks.

“We made payroll during that time; payroll checks are being prepared today and will go out tomorrow,” Morgan said Thursday.

The hospital sought through an emergency motion filed with the bankruptcy court for a $275,000 loan from UPS Bank and Stillwater Bank “to assist it with respect to its cash flow shortage.”

The shortage from the nine days of low census could be felt later in the cash flow cycle, Morgan said.

Judge Houston on Wednesday issued an order permitting the loan, secured, in part, “by the proceeds of any business interruption insurance,” his order stated.

Morgan said the claim for reimbursement from the insurance has been filed.

“We’re hopeful; they’re saying that we have coverage,” Morgan said.