East Coast Hospital Files For Bankruptcy

Following a patient safety investigation of Saint Catherine Medical Center, owner Saint Catherine’s Hospital of Pennsylvania filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2012, the Republican Herald reported.

The PA state health department in March 2012 conducted a visit to the Ashland, PA healthcare facility and discovered patient safety violations, including a lack of needles, syringes, surgical gloves, and medicated soap.  There was also faulty X-ray equipment. The state health department declared St. Catherine Medical Center immediately shut down emergency room and outpatient services.

With money being tight, Saint Catherine Medical Center, Saint Catherine Regional Hospital and Saint Catherine Healthcare in March 2012 were ordered to pay a $168,760 judgment to Lease Associates, HealthLeaders Media reported.  PPL Electric Utilities filed a lawsuit at the same time.

A government-appointed trustee will reorganize the financially distressed medical facility, the Republican Herald noted.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 89, AFL-CIO claimed wages and benefits.  The workers became aware with problems relating to getting paid on time.  One worker told the news:  “Our pays started to become late, and two weeks later, our pays didn’t happen – and still hasn’t happened.”

When a huge business such as a medical facility is not afraid to use bankruptcy to get a fresh start on finances, people should not feel shame in filing bankruptcy.  Chapter 11 is often used by a business to reorganize corporate facilities so that the corporation continues.  Individuals can file bankruptcy under Chapters 7, 11, or 13.  When filing bankruptcy, property of the bankruptcy estate for an individual debtor in New York includes the debtor’s earnings and property acquired by the debtor after filing bankruptcy until the case closes, dismisses or converts from one bankruptcy chapter to another.

In a Chapter 11, the debtor needs to create a reorganization plan.  Funding for a reorganization plan may be from the debtor’s future earnings.  In a Chapter 13, the debtor needs to create a repayment of debts plan.  In all bankruptcy petitions, the debtor discloses the assets, liabilities, and business affairs of the debtor enough to let a creditor make an informed judgment about the debtor’s financial situation. For the individual not educated in the law, bankruptcy may require a business attorney, with experience in not only bankruptcies but fundamental issues pertinent to debt elimination.

A bankruptcy may require hearings in a bankruptcy court.  The hearings may be long, with people walking in and out of the courtroom.  Most hearings are not private.  In a bankruptcy, a person or business entity makes public the debtor’s financial affairs.  At hearings, there are many other bankruptcy cases, sometimes over 40, heard at the same time.  A debtor should not feel embarrassed by the public nature of the process.  With so many people unemployed or underemployed, everyone has problems.  Bankruptcy is a responsible way to resolve financial concerns.

A debtor represented by an experienced New York attorney with bankruptcy, tax, and general business sense will get an attorney who prepares so as to not waste the court’s time, or a client’s funds.