W.Va. hospital declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — Fairmont General Hospital lists roughly equal amounts of debt and assets in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing as it enters a reorganization process expected to take about a year.

The hospital announced last week it must restructure labor contracts and long-term debt to become more attractive to a potential business partner.

Health benefits and pensions with its two unions are key concerns.

Service Employees International Union District 1199 represents about 300 workers while Local 550 represents about 170. Talks with the union are set to begin Sept. 10.

The 94-page filing late Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wheeling shows that Fairmont General has $10 million to $50 million in both assets and liabilities.

WesBanco Trust and Investment Services of Wheeling is its single largest creditor, owed more than $12 million for bonds. Several others are owed more than $1 million.

The 207-bed hospital has been looking for a strategic partner since December 2011 but has not yet settled on one. Last week, however, spokeswoman Katelyn Mock said each potential partner considered a Chapter 11 restructuring necessary.

The hospital was founded in 1939, and employs some 700 physicians, nurses and other personnel. Mock said it must be competitive with other area hospitals, including West Virginia University and Mon General.

Patients and vendors should see no visible change during the reorganization.

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