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Troubled St. Louis hospital has new operator: 'We need to investigate'

St. Alexius filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December following months of legal turmoil involving unpaid bills

ST. LOUIS — St. Alexius Hospital in south St. Louis has a new operator: Carol Fox, principal with GlassRatner, a financial advisory services and consulting firm in Florida. 

A bankruptcy judge last week appointed Fox to be trustee for the hospital's parent company, Americore, after an official in the case said that Americore's CEO, Grant White, was under criminal and civil investigation and could not properly manage St. Alexius and other facilities. The judge removed White as CEO.

St. Alexius, a 190-bed facility with campuses in the city's Gravois Park and Dutchtown neighborhoods, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December following months of legal turmoil involving unpaid bills.

Fox spoke with the Business Journal Friday.

What is your role? The first objective is to make sure the patients are safe. The second is to make sure personal information is being taken care of appropriately.

GlassRatner has registered nurses and quality assurance personnel who are capable of making that assessment. I plan to go to St. Louis Monday and spend significant time there. My experience with distressed assets is that they require a lot of attention at the beginning.

The goal of a Chapter 11 trustee is not that of a babysitter. It's to go in and run the business, make prudent decisions as if it were the business owner, and make recommendations to the court.

What could happen to the hospital? I don't have enough information right now to know what the right long-term plan for the hospital is.

I'm going to make sure that we make a proper assessment of financial feasibility of the hospital, with the funding mapped out. We will make an assessment very quickly.

An Americore attorney said last week that the FBI was investigating billing fraud at Americore. My firm has the ability to get in and assess whether that's happening. If improper billing is going on, I'm going to shut it down in week one. We need to investigate those allegations.

Americore was the only bidder during the hospital's last bankruptcy case, which wrapped last year. Could there be more interested parties now? We have the ability to properly market the assets. I'm not sure that happened or didn't happen before. 

Click here for more from the St. Louis Business Journal.

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