Nearly half of revenues collected from Natchez Regional

Published 12:12 am Thursday, November 20, 2014

NATCHEZ — Approximately half of the anticipated revenues from Natchez Regional Medical Center’s final months as a county-owned facility have been collected.

Kenneth Lefoldt, the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, said collections thus far have brought in $2 million of a total anticipated $4 million of accounts receivable.

Collections should continue for several more months, and Lefoldt said the former hospital’s bankruptcy trust has a number of Medicare claims that have not been paid that it is still pursuing.

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The hospital’s new ownership, Community Health Systems, is involved with the collections.

“CHS is assisting in collection since they have taken over the offices and computers and all of that,” Lefoldt said. “But the money is still going into the (former) hospital’s bank accounts even though they are assisting in the logistics.”

Since the trust was created all of the hospital’s lease claims have been paid, and Lefoldt said Monday was the deadline for any creditor to file a claim for bills owed after the hospital’s March 26 bankruptcy declaration.

“Before the end of the week, we should be getting copies of any of the claims that have been filed and start reconciling those through the books, and we should start cutting checks by year-end to pay creditors (accrued) from the filing of the bankruptcy,” he said.

After that point, only the professional fees associated with the bankruptcy and the unsecured creditors will remain to be paid.

A $4 million trust was set up from the hospital’s sale proceeds to allow for the two-year claw back period on Medicare claims.

“When this two-year period is over, that money hopefully won’t be touched and we will be able to pay the unsecured creditors at that time,” Lefoldt said.

Local bankruptcy attorney Jack Lazarus, who represented Adams County during the hospital’s bankruptcy proceedings, is a member of the three-person liquidating trust oversight committee along with Lefoldt.

The third person is a representative of the unsecured creditors.

Lazarus said the committee has not needed to meet yet, but he has had some discussion with the attorney representing the unsecured creditors.

NRMC was the county-owned hospital for 54 years, but was sold as a key part of settling its second bankruptcy at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30.