Hospital District calls special meeting to discuss second forbearance agreement

Item File PhotoHuntsville Memorial Hospital CEO Steve Smith told the Walker County Hospital District Thursday that patient intake is up “significantly” year-to-date at the acute-care facility.

The Walker County Hospital District is looking to collect over $2.3 million in missed rent payments. 

Managers with the hospital district are expected to go behind closed doors today, as they meet with attorneys in an effort to negotiate a second forbearance agreement with Huntsville Memorial Hospital and its parent board the Walker County Hospital Corporation.

District administrator Ralph Beaty stated in a meeting last week that the hospital district is owed over $3.9 million in missed rent payments from the hospital — nearly $1.6 million of which was forgiven by district officials as part of a $2.9 million taxpayer subsidy approved last year.

HMH has not made a rent payment since May 2018 and has been in negotiations for a buyout since receiving four proposals earlier this year. District officials have whittled it down to one entity.

“The Walker County Hospital District is working with consultants, a financial advisor and hospital operators to analyze the potential options for the future operation of the hospital,” district chairperson Anne Karr-Woodard said. “The managers are committed to exploring every opportunity to provide the community with quality healthcare.”

According to the agenda, district officials are expected to discuss information related to the continued breaches under the lease agreement, the operating lease agreement and the initial forbearance agreement.

Today’s meeting will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the district’s business office in the First National Bank building.