Hutcheson Medical Center employees try to save hospital and thei - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hutcheson Medical Center employees try to save hospital and their jobs

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CATOOSA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - UPDATE: Emotions were high Thursday as leaders with Erlanger Medical System discussed the future of Hutcheson Medical Center.

“For some reason if that hospital closes, we're four families without a home. We all live paycheck to paycheck,” Hutcheson employee Lacey Varnon said.

Erlanger Chief Administrative Officer Greg Gentry told a room packed with Hutcheson employees foreclosure proceedings would move forward due to an agreement signed by leaders in Walker and Catoosa counties in 2011.

But Gentry says local leaders can keep that from happening, but waiving a provision written in the document requiring both counties to repay $10 million each to Erlanger.

“Waive the provisions so that the hospital and the citizens of these counties will not be foreclosed on,” Gentry said.

It's money the medical system loaned to help keep the dwindling hospital open three years ago.

But Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell disagrees. She sat down with Channel 3 earlier this week.

“To say that they're going to take the hospital back because I owe them $10 million, I don't think that I do. I don't think that I do because they didn't keep their end of the bargain,” she said.

Heiskell says Erlanger didn't follow through by bringing in 15 physicians to Hutcheson. But Gentry told the crowd that provision was never written into the actual document.

Others accused Erlanger of poor management and stealing patients—Both things Gentry denied the medical system of doing.

If commissioners from both counties don't work out a payment plan, foreclosure proceedings will continue on November 4th.


Leaders from Erlanger Medical System met with employees of Hutcheson Medical Center Thursday about the future of the dwindling north Georgia hospital. 

Chief Administrative Officer at Erlanger Greg Gentry told a packed room Hutcheson is facing foreclosure after Walker and Catoosa counties have missed deadlines repaying $20 million dollars owed in an agreement that was signed in 2011. 

Gentry said officials in both counties specifically asked that the foreclosure happen before collecting the money owed, when agreement was signed. 

Hutcheson is the primary medical service for Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties. 

Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell told Channel 3 on Tuesday Erlanger did not uphold their end of the agreement by providing 15 physicians. 

Gentry told Hutcheson employees an actual number of physicians was never written into the actual agreement.


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