Erlanger, Hutcheson unable to reach lease agreement - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Erlanger, Hutcheson unable to reach lease agreement

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FORT OGLETHORPE, GA (WRCB) -

Officials with Hutcheson Medical Center and Erlanger were unable to reach an agreement regarding a lease negotiation.

The two hospitals were in talks for Hutcheson to lease its facility to Erlanger.

The hospitals were unable to come to an agreement and Hutcheson will continue to solicit bids from other entities.

"It is in the best interest of Hutcheson that we seek a long-term partner so that North Georgia residents are served by a strong, viable community hospital," stated Hutcheson Chairman Corky Jewell.

"Erlanger is supportive of the RFP process and will continue to support Hutcheson Medical Center while they evaluate offers with other potential partners," stated Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE Erlanger's President and CEO.

The tri-county hospital that services patients in Georgia accrued a hefty amount of debt. Officials with the hospital say the debt was accrued by previous administrations of the hospital over several years. With a high interest rate, it amounts to $55-60 million.

A rep for the companies says the hospital has returned to profitability and is seeking a way to manage debt repayment through a low interest rate bond backed by the three counties - their goal is to bond the debt and add more to the total amount that will go toward upgrading the equipment and the Hutcheson property. 

In order to  get the financial backing approved the hospital authority has to find a new leasing partner.

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