Only bidder for Natchez Regional Medical Center is company that owns other local hospital

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NATCHEZ, Mississippi — Natchez Regional Medical Center goes up for auction Thursday, but only one company is bidding.

Community Health Systems is the only entity that met a Monday deadline to qualify to try to buy the hospital, which is in bankruptcy. That's according to Scott Slover, attorney for the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

CHS already owns Natchez Community Hospital.

The Natchez Democrat reported that (http://bit.ly/ZgMJqF ) that CHS's total bid is $18 million. Only $10 million of that is cash for the hospital's assets. The other $8 million is in pre-paid property taxes.

In addition of getting a court's blessing, the package was vetted by the Mississippi attorney general's office.

The hospital's creditors are voting on a plan for recovery of debts. The tentative plan would pay off bonds, loans and other end-stage financing before funds are distributed to unsecured creditors. It would pay no more than 50 percent recovery to the hospital's unsecured creditors.

The plan was crafted with the committee representing the unsecured creditors, and a letter urging the creditors' assent to the plan from the committee was included when it was distributed to them.

The confirmation hearing for the plan, which will include tallying the votes of the unsecured creditors in favor of accepting it, will be Sept. 29 in the federal courthouse in Natchez. If the court approves the plan after the confirmation hearing, the sale of the hospital will close Sept. 30, and Natchez Regional Medical Center will belong to CHS as of Oct. 1.

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