Hutcheson Medical Center

At a specially called meeting of the boards of Hutcheson Medical Center, the boards voted to sell the hospital’s interest in Battlefield Imaging to co-owner Diagnostic Radiology Consultants for a projected $5.2 million and to enter into a management contract with GB Health Management, LLC.

The stock sale is subject to approval of documents in final form by Hutcheson’s legal team and executive committee.

The performance-based management contract and influx of operating capital are designed to accelerate the Fort Oglethorpe hospital’s ongoing turnaround and pave the way for a comprehensive refinancing of the hospital’s debt.

The boards of directors also voted to sign a note to Walker County for a $1 million loan Walker County commissioner Bebe Heiskell is granting the hospital for temporary cash flow needs pending the sale of the Battlefield Imaging interests.

“These agreements are a culmination of hard work by the hospital’s management and staff, boards of directors, elected officials and civic leaders,” said Corky Jewell, Hutcheson Medical Center board chairman. “However, this would not have been possible without commissioner Heiskell’s determination and vision for saving the hospital and preserving its tremendous economic impact in our community. Through her leadership and perseverance, Hutcheson will continue to serve the long term healthcare needs of northwest Georgia.”

Under the leadership of Dr. Mike Aiken, GB Health Management will immediately begin working with Hutcheson’s executive management team to implement a strategic plan to accelerate the hospital’s financial recovery. The strategic plan will focus on more efficient operation of the hospital and rebuilding the physician base, particularly in specialty and sub-specialty disciplines. The plan will define and grow the services that are most beneficial to the community and allow the hospital to thrive. Those targeted services include cardiology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, orthopedics, oncology and general surgery.

“The value, performance and quality of the hospital are incredibly strong in spite of the debt challenges created under previous administrations,” said Dr. Aiken, whose health-care management and consulting company has worked with the hospital in recent months to outline a plan for long-term financial success. “Commissioner Heiskell’s steadfast support of Hutcheson proves that she values the hospital and its $870 million annual economic impact, which includes jobs for nearly 900 people and an annual payroll of $29 million, as well as increased business for our regional suppliers. Thanks to commissioner Heiskell and Region’s Bank, Hutcheson is now in a position to fast-track the hospital’s recovery and reclaim its position as the health-care leader for this region.”

Dr. Aiken founded HealthCorp, the former owner of North Park Hospital in Hixson, Tenn., in 1987 and later sold controlling interest in 1993. He is a graduate of UTC and UT College of Medicine.

“GB Health Management brings extensive experience in community hospital leadership to the communities Hutcheson serves,” said commissioner Heiskell. “We are confident their team has the knowledge and experience to generate both short-term success and long-term viability.”

“Under the leadership or Farrell Hayes as CEO, Hutcheson’s executive management team has done a tremendous job in leading the hospital and growing our services,” said Jewell. “We commend them on their success and look forward to the healthy future they will build for Hutcheson in partnership with GB Health Management.”