Valley Care parent firm struggles with debt - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley Care parent firm struggles with debt

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

In recent months published reports have described Community Health Systems as a troubled hospital giant that is dismantling itself. 

CHS is one of the largest hospital groups in the country with 159 hospitals in 22 states.  That includes Valley Care's Northside Medical Center, Trumbull Memorial Hospital and Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital.  

Right now the company is in trouble and is selling off assets to raise cash. Melanie Evans of the Wall Street Journal says CHS is in a debt reduction mode.

"It indeed has quite a bit of debt. It's about $15 billion which is pretty much the most that the company can take on," Evans said.

Dave Barkholz at Modern Healthcare says CHS also is exploring a sale of the entire company, but is not in danger of folding. "They're not a bankruptcy risk. They have very solid cash and they are divesting in an orderly way, but they do have to get that debt level down, “said Barkholz.

Community Health has seventeen hospitals up for sale, and sales are pending on six, in Mississippi, Washington and Florida.   "It's more than just the rural hospitals they're looking to sell hospitals they have buyers for," according to Barkholz.

 Evans says analysts will be watching the progress being made on debt reduction. "They're also looking for that turn around in operations, they're looking for that rebound and watching for that next year," Evans said. 

Regulations prohibit CHS from naming the other hospitals on it are for sale list, and analysts say that list could grow. What we don't know is if our local CHS hospitals may face another change in ownership.

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