Owners interested in selling cash-strapped hospital

Published 2:58 pm Friday, September 21, 2012

The solution to Chilton Medical Center’s financial difficulties might be new ownership.

Hospital Executive Director Ted Chapin said Friday that CMC’s owner, Carraway Medical Systems, LLC, is interested in selling the hospital and has been in contact with at least two different parties about a potential deal.

“I believe, at the end of the day, we will have a new owner and a new structure at the hospital, and we’ll be fine,” Chapin said.

That message was essentially the same one that Chapin delivered to hospital employees recently when payroll was delayed one business day.

CMC workers were scheduled to be paid Sept. 14, but Chapin and other leaders at the business met with employees when it became evident that there might not be enough money in the payroll account.

“The last thing I want to do is write an employee a check and then that check bounce,” Chapin said.

The meeting with employees was earlier in the week before the scheduled payroll, and Chapin said payroll went through on Monday, Sept. 17.

“We asked to make sure, and no one’s check bounced,” he said.

Chapin and Anne Taddicken said they don’t expect meeting payroll to be a recurring problem, and that this was the only instance of employees being paid late.

There are about 150 full-time and part-time employees at Chilton Medical Center.

“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Taddicken said. “We ask that people continue to support the hospital. “The thing [potential buyers] have mentioned to us is that they’re impressed with the care that the hospital is still giving to the community.”

A sale of the hospital could be complicated by the fact that a different company, SunLink Health Systems out of Atlanta, owns the building. A subsidiary of Carraway leased CMC from Sunlink in March 2011. The agreement gave Carraway the option to buy CMC during the six-year term of the lease, but Chapin said Carraway is interested in selling.