- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - Officials say the hospital in Powell has sought bankruptcy protection in response to about 20 lawsuits over surgeries performed by an orthopedic surgeon who used to work there.

The Powell Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1V73y14 ) that Powell Valley Healthcare’s board of directors approved filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday. The board said in a statement the lawsuits from former patients of Dr. Jeffrey Hansen prompted the bankruptcy filing.

In court filings, Hansen and the hospital have denied any wrongdoing or negligence.

“These lawsuits are being brought by former patients of Dr. Hansen for services rendered back in 2013 and prior years,” the PVHC board said in a prepared statement. “The lawsuits have nothing to do with the current medical staff or care being provided by the medical staff and PVHC to its patients.”

Hansen was employed by Powell Valley Healthcare from 2006 until 2014. He resigned after being suspended.

Bill Patten, former chief executive officer for Powell Valley Healthcare, said in 2014 that Hansen was suspended “because of patient safety concerns.”

Since August 2014, 20 former patients have filed lawsuits accusing Hansen of malpractice. They’re seeking a combined total of more than $70 million in damages.

The patients allege they received substandard medical care from Hansen and claim Powell Valley Healthcare was too slow to suspend him and negligent in giving him medical credentials.

Two other patients filed malpractice suits in 2012 and 2013 against Hansen and Powell Valley Healthcare that resulted in confidential settlements.

The board’s statement on Monday says that the litigation has “caused a tremendous strain in personnel time and finances.”

While operating under Chapter 11, Powell Valley Healthcare will remain in control of its hospital and the day-to-day operations of Powell Valley Hospital, Powell Valley Clinic, Powell Valley Care Center and The Heartland. No layoffs or staff reductions are planned, the statement said.

According to the Wyoming Board of Medicine, Hansen remains licensed in Wyoming and has provided the board with an address in Montana. An attempt to reach Hansen on Tuesday for comment was not immediately successful.

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Information from: Powell (Wyo.) Tribune, https://www.powelltribune.com


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