Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center Voluntarily Files Petition Under Chapter 11 to Protect Hospital Mission and Service to Community

Hospital Continues Current Healthcare Services

Aug 16, 2011, 09:30 ET from Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center

ALAMOGORDO, N.M., Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center (GCRMC) filed a petition under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Albuquerque, N.M.   The board of directors of GCRMC authorized the filing in order to ensure the hospital's immediate and long-term ability to provide critical healthcare services to more than 70,000 people in Otero and its neighboring counties while creating an orderly process to resolve a group of lawsuits in a fair and timely manner.  The majority of the lawsuits were filed between June and October 2010 and relate to procedures that have not been performed at the hospital for nearly three years, by physicians who no longer work at the hospital.  All efforts to resolve these lawsuits have been unsuccessful.  

The more than 700 current employees of the hospital will continue to receive wages, salaries and benefits during the Chapter 11 process, and all vendors providing goods and services to the hospital after the Chapter 11 filing will be paid in full for those goods and services.  Also, in conjunction with the filing, GCRMC intends to file a variety of first day motions that will seek to limit the impact on vendors with respect to pre-filing goods and services provided to the hospital to the fullest extent permitted by the Bankruptcy Code.  GCRMC looks forward to maintaining its longstanding relationships with all of its valued vendors during and after the conclusion of its Chapter 11 case.

"Since the filing of the lawsuits GCRMC has been unable to raise capital needed to invest in the expanded facilities and to continue updating our medical equipment and technology.  Additionally, we are unable to move forward on various clinical services' initiatives to improve access to care for our community," said Jim Heckert, Chief Executive Officer of GCRMC.  "It is critical that we be able to fund our community's current and future healthcare needs.  There is a direct correlation between the growth of needed services and the long-term viability of the hospital, which is more than 75 miles from the nearest comparable facility."

"This was a difficult decision for the board," said Norm Arnold, chairman of the board of directors of GCRMC, "but Chapter 11 provides the hospital with a mechanism to resolve the lawsuits fairly and efficiently.  We believe this is the most responsible way to manage this unanticipated threat to the hospital's long-term viability so that we can fully focus on our complex mission of meeting the growing medical needs of our community."  

GCRMC is a not-for-profit 99-bed acute care facility located in Alamogordo, N.M.  It has served the community for more than 60 years, and in 1999 moved into its new state-of-the-art medical facility.  The hospital's services have continued to evolve and additional services include:  Cancer Center, Inpatient/Outpatient Gero-psych services, Inpatient Rehabilitation, Joint Center, Hospitalist Program, and Level III Trauma Center.  Complementing the growth in services is a fully functional Inpatient Electronic Record as well as digital radiology.  GCRMC has a longstanding partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) allowing for Air Force physicians from nearby Holloman Air Force Base to admit and treat DoD beneficiaries in the hospital.  The hospital is the largest non-governmental employer in Otero County.

The hospital has created a temporary telephone number for interested community members to ask questions or leave recorded messages to be responded to in a timely manner. The number is 575-443-7849.  

Contact:  Lillie Lewis

SOURCE Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center