Since Horton lost its local medical center in March, the fate of its building and related properties has been uncertain, but it is now apparent that these assets will remain in local hands.
Atchison Hospital made the high bid of $275,000 at auction for the defunct Horton Community Hospital on Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to Horton City Administrator John Calhoon. The auction, conducted as part of bankruptcy proceedings, offered for sale the hospital building at 240 West 18th St. in Horton, a medical office building and associated real properties.
“The mayor, commissioners and myself worked extremely hard to ... regain some level of medical services within our community,” Calhoon said. “We are fortunate that we have two other qualified health care organizations bidding on our property. We are happy that one of them did buy it. We’ll be hopeful that some level of health care will return to Horton.”
Atchison Hospital has yet to release any information on what it intends with the properties and land it purchased at the auction. A spokesperson for the hospital said on Friday, Dec. 20, that a statement from CEO Jeff Perry would be released in the near future. A follow-up call on Monday morning to the spokesperson didn't obtain an immediate reply.
Calhoon, who returned from North Carolina on Friday afternoon, said that not all hurdles have been cleared in restoring medical services as Horton residents knew them before the March 12 shutdown of the hospital.
“The bankruptcy court still does have to approve the bids,” he said. “When that happens, based on brief conversations I’ve had with Atchison Hospital, they will be in a position to tell our community and tell the media what level of services they intend to bring to Horton as well as the time schedule for that.”
One challenge that remains, Calhoon said, is to ensure that those employees who worked largely without pay in the last-ditch early 2019 effort to serve Horton patients will be compensated as they are due. However, he said, the Horton hospital remains heavily in debt and it is unclear when this will be able to happen.
“I think it’s very important to do our best to try to get our employees that gave so much to the hospital, to get them paid the wages they are due,” Calhoon said. “We don’t have much control over that but the sale of the properties could help ... Ultimately, this will bring jobs back to the community and boost our economy a little bit and definitely be an improvement since the closure of the hospital on March 12.”
This story was first reported by WIBW Channel 13 of Topeka. For more information, visit their website at https://www.wibw.com/.