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Judge orders hospital corporation to pay up

Staff writer

A North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 20 imposed contempt penalties against the same corporation that owns Hillsboro Community Hospital over its premature closure of Yadkin Valley Community Hospital.

Yadkin County, North Carolina, sued Kansas City-based HMC/CAH over its May 2015 hospital closure prior to the expiration of its agreement with the county. A restraining order to prevent the hospital from closing had been issued by Wake County Superior Court, but the corporation failed to comply with that order.

“Because it was not possible for (the corporation) to reopen the hospital to purge themselves of contempt, the court determined that civil contempt sanctions were necessary to compensate (the county) for its losses,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

However, the judge didn’t award the full $279,940 Yadkin County sought for losses incurred May 22 to July 31, 2015. Instead, he awarded $148,091 for losses from May 22 to June 26. The award was based on emergency medical service costs during that time, and attorney’s fees for emergency action to obtain the restraining order and filing of affidavits in support of the contempt hearing.

Hillsboro physician Dr. Michael Reeh in August raised concerns about the financial soundness of the hospital corporation when the city agreed to issue bonds to support its opening of a privately owned hospital in Hillboro, citing the Yadkin County hospital closure.

Last modified Jan. 28, 2016

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