by Sam Hieb
For starters, the bankruptcy hearing for Eden’s Morehead Memorial Hospital —originally scheduled for today— has been postponed until Wednesday at the request of the hospital’s attorney.
Remember Morehead declared bankruptcy in July and today’s hearing would hear the “request by hospital leaders to sell all its assets to the Empower iHCC partnership of Miami, Fla., for just less than $10.8 million in cash, as the N&R writes.
But there are two major objectors to the sale—the commercial lender Berkadia, who believes it can get more of its money back if Morehead’s to UNC Healthcare—and wait for it— the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which insured Berkadia’s loan in 2012.
From that perspective, the HUD petition might be an even bigger roadblock to the Empower sale because the federal agency asserts in its objection that it has authority to stop the proposed deal in its tracks.
And the federal agency said in court papers filed Thursday that’s what should happen unless the proposal is revised to better protect the American taxpayer.
Millions in tax dollars are on the line because HUD insured Berkadia’s 2012 loan to the struggling hospital system, meaning that the American people are holding the bag and must pay the lender however much of that $32.6 million can’t be offset through the bankruptcy proceedings.
“Morehead cannot point to any legal or equitable proceeding that would compel HUD to accept less than full satisfaction of the Berkadia note,” a panel of federal lawyers representing the agency said in their Thursday objection.
HUD standing up for the taxpayer. Clap hands, everyone. As for Empower iHCC–they company offering to but the entire campus (and the high bidder)— they have has questionable dealings in other part of the country. I’d be interested to hear what they would to make Morehead turn a profit when the vast majority of its patients are on Medicare and Medicaid.