UPDATE: Panel approves Hutcheson Erlanger partnership - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE 2: Panel approves Hutcheson Erlanger partnership

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Hutcheson Medical Center Leaders held a meeting to make some big decisions on how to keep the hospital afloat.

Just this week, it announced the layoffs of 75 employees but that is simply not enough to bring the medical center back into the black.

The meeting, Wednesday night, started out with the room packed with concerned employees. But quickly, officials decided to go into executive session, kicking everyone out of the room.

In the end, a bit of resolution that could give the hospital what it needs to survive.

After weeks of debate and finally almost 3 hours behind closed doors, the hospital authority voted unanimously to accept an offer by Erlanger Medical Center to come to their aid.

"We were looking for a community that could come together and create a consensus that they all wanted this to occur and tonight we saw that," said Jim Brexler, CEO of Erlanger Medical Center.

a community that could come together and create a...and tonight we saw that,"

A large crowd of hospital workers and community members waited out the executive session.  once the vote was taken and the meeting adjourned, broke into applause.

So, what's next for the financially troubled facility?

"There's a number of pieces to this," Brexler said, "but the fact of the matter is we need to be helping physicians to get located in the community to work with the physicians that are in the community to re-establish a really strong base of medical support for this hospital."

As for a timeframe, Brexler will take the agreement to the Erlanger board for final approval.

"It's gonna take a while," Brexler admitted. "We've gotta turn this around. Uh, it's gonna take a while to do that, but our intent is to be here for a long, long, time."

The agreement included representatives from Catoosa, Walker and Dade Counties.

The agreement covers ten years with an option for an additional five years.


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