• 72°

Hospital Sale

At bankruptcy hearing, sale of Tri-Lakes hospital moved to Friday

By John Howell Sr.

Bankruptcy Judge David Houston on Friday, at a hearing in Oxford, delayed the sale of Tri-Lakes Medical Center from Monday until Friday, Sept. 4.

The August 31 sale was postponed after attorneys representing creditors UPS Capital and Stillwater National Bank (SNB) argued for more time to allow compliance with United States Department of Agriculture regulations concerning assumption of USDA-guaranteed loans.

The hospital facility, which entered chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2007, was purchased from the City of Batesville and Panola County in 2005 with a $27 million loan from the banks that was 90-percent guaranteed by the USDA. Alliance Health Partners was approved by the court on August 17 to purchase the hospital assets in a sale under section 363 of the U. S. Bankruptcy Code.

Alliance’s bid includes assumption of $11 million of the USDA-guaranteed loan.

Attorney Craig Geno, representing hospital owner Physicians and Surgeons Hospital Group, and Thomas Kirkland, representing Alliance Health Partners, urged the judge to uphold the August 31 date for closing the sale.

“We want to close by Monday; this is simple turnaround,” Geno said.

“We have our information; we have everything done,” Kirkland said. Kirkland was also critical of new requests from UPS and SNB attorneys seeking additional information for the USDA approval.

“It’s my client who is going to take the risk to make this hospital a go,” said Alliance attorney Kirkland later in the hearing. Alliance Health Partners, LLC is a physicians’ syndicate that includes Batesville physicians Dr. Mike Havens and Dr. Billy Haire and Meridian physician and CPA Dr. Thomas Crowson, among others.

UPS Capital attorney Andrew Turner urged the judge to extend the sale closing date by a week.

“As the judge that is overseeing this case, I want to do everything in my power to make this work,” Judge Houston said. He delayed the sale closing date until Friday and set a 4 p.m. teleconference for Monday, August 31 to allow disagreements between attorneys to be resolved.