- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Creditors in the bankruptcy case involving Greater Southeast Community Hospital are seeking a bailout from the District to keep the facility open.

The hospital is losing an estimated $2.6 million per month, D.C. Administrator Robert Bobb said yesterday during the weekly press briefing of Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

“The hospital is on life support,” Mr. Bobb said.

The mayor did not comment on the ongoing negotiations between the creditors and the city.

Mr. Bobb said he met this week with attorneys for creditors, who are asking the D.C. government to provide funding to help keep Greater Southeast open.

“The issue is that the facility is losing a tremendous amount of money,” Sam Alberts, attorney for the creditors, said in an interview last week. “We’re hoping the District can stop that flow.”

Greater Southeast is one of five hospitals across the country owned by Arizona-based Doctors Community Hospital (DCHC).

DCHC declared bankruptcy last year after the FBI in November raided the offices of its primary financial backer, Ohio-based National Century Financial Enterprises (NCFE).

NCFE provided Greater Southeast and other hospitals with cash in exchange for reimbursement claims for Medicaid and other government insurance programs. The lender declared bankruptcy shortly after the FBI raid, which sought to document $500 million missing from company reserves.

DCHC’s assets are scheduled to be sold off in December.

Meanwhile, Greater Southeast is losing so much money that creditors are owed more than $400 million by DCHC..

Mr. Bobb said a decision on whether to provide a short-term bailout package will have to wait until the D.C. Department of Health rules on whether conditions at the hospital warrant its closure.

Greater Southeast lost its license in August after repeatedly failing inspections by the health department, and has been operating under a provisional license ever since.

The Health Department is expected to rule by Monday whether Greater Southeast’s license should be reinstated.

DCHC executives announced their bid to reorganize and retain ownership of Greater Southeast under a reorganization plan filed this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

DCHC purchased Greater Southeast at 1301 Southern Ave. in December 2000, and city officials began pouring tens of millions of dollars into its bank accounts as part of plan to privatize health care for low-income residents.

During a “Save Our Hospital” rally at Greater Southeast yesterday, hospital administrators expressed confidence that the health department would keep the facility open.

“Department officials have conducted on-site inspections of our operations and we are awaiting their final determination,” said Greater Southeast Administrator Joan Phillips. “We have reorganized and expanded staff capabilities and instituted ongoing staff training.”

Representatives for several advisory neighborhood commissions and union officials for the District 1199E-DC of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 300 hospital workers, attended the rally.

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