El Paso Children’s Hospital Disappoints Community

The El Paso Children’s Hospital is a young institution, just over 3-years-old, and like a young child, has made a rash decision, which many in the community view as irresponsible and a grievous mistake.

In 2007, El Paso voters approved construction of the El Paso Children’s Hospital, and the facility opened in February of 2012. According to the El Paso Times, a little over a year ago, the El Paso Children’s Hospital stopped making payments to the University Medical Center, both for rent as well as services rendered. Though both parties agree that El Paso Hospital owes UMC millions of dollars, the exact amount is a subject of bitter dispute.

Despite an ongoing attempt by UMC to reach an agreement with El Paso Children’s, the medical facility decided to file bankruptcy. Oddly enough, University Medical Center was not added to the list of El Paso Children’s creditors.

The bankruptcy filing came as a surprise to Steve DeGroat, UMC Board Chairman.

“[El Paso Children’s] filing states that their board authorized bankruptcy as early as Feb. 11. All this while, EPCH gave us the impression that an agreement might be acceptable to them. It seems that their intent was never to come to an agreement or to pay what they owe UMC or other creditors.”

El Paso Children’s CEO, Mark Herbers, stands behind the decision to file bankruptcy.

“We plan to restructure our debt, our financial billings, insurance, partnerships and other components, which will allow us to start fresh from the solid foundation. It is anticipated that the Children’s Hospital can emerge from this process by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, the manner in which UMC has navigated the mediation process has been unproductive and not in the best interest of [El Paso Children’s Hospital]. It is our obligation to the residents of El Paso County to protect the independent operation of EPCH and more importantly, our mission, which is to care for the critically ill children in this region.”

According to KFOX El Paso, County Judge Veronica Escobar is of the opinion that the El Paso hospital made a very poor decision.

“They’ve just done the worst possible thing by this community. It is tragic for the institution. It is tragic for the community. It’s tragic for the taxpayer. It certainly does not honor mission and the vision set out by this community when everyone came together and gave them a beautiful new building.”

This issue is not expected to affect the children and families cared for at El Paso Children’s Hospital. The facility plans to continue business as usual while the matter is resolved.

[Image via Ghostlight Creative]