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Walker County Commissioner Heiskell balks at Hutcheson bailout

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Hutcheson Medical Center Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press. Hutcheson Medical Center Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
LAFAYETTE, GA (Times Free Press) -

The big bailout of Hutcheson Medical Center may have to wait — or maybe not.

Officials in Walker and Catoosa counties, which recently have been keeping the Fort Oglethorpe hospital afloat through lines of credit, have divergent views.

Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell wants to wait. But Catoosa County Commission Chairman Keith Greene is ready to put the debt to rest.

Instead of immediately refinancing Hutcheson's roughly $60 million in debt by selling bonds, Heiskell would like to extend a temporary lifeline of $3.4 million in credit through Regions Bank to keep the hospital operating until Oct. 25, when bids are due for a new partner to take over. Hutcheson is ending the agreement under which it was managed by Erlanger Health System of Chattanooga and is putting out requests for proposals for a new partner.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.

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