The remaining members of the Banks-Jackson-Commerce Medical Center Authority gave their blessings Monday morning to the sale of Northridge Medical Center to Macon-based Community Health Services Inc., a deal expected to close by Dec. 31.
The BJC Medical Center Authority is a nine-member appointed board representing Banks and Jackson counties and the city of Commerce, owners of the facility, which operated the hospital and nursing home as a government entity until March 2010 when it sold to Restoration Healthcare, a Tennessee firm. Under that contract, the authority retained a right of first refusal should Restoration sell the facility within five years.
Monday’s action, which came in an “emergency called meeting,” was probably unnecessary, explained attorney Phillip Sprinkle of Balch & Bingham LLP, because Restoration is just selling its shares in the legal entity that owns the medical center.
“It will just be different people owning the stock,” he said via conference call. “But the buyer has requested release from the right of first refusal, meaning we would waive it.”
In exchange, Community Health Services agreed to hold the BJC Authority harmless against any claims that predated the sale, Sprinkle added.
Chairman Charles Blair also pointed out that the U.S. Justice Department has verbally agreed to allow the authority to close out its escrow account, which contains around $88,000 — which will go to settle a few remaining accounts, with the balance then going to the Justice Department.
“This cleans up everything for us,” Blair observed. “We’re finished after this.”
Assuming the Department of Justice follows through, Blair said the next move will be to disband the authority.
“My guess is we’ll have to approach (Rep.) Tommy Benton,” he said. “My understanding is that we have to be legislatively dissolved.”
For the full story, see the Dec. 24 edition of The Commerce News.