Setback Could Delay Opening of Sharp County Hospital

August 3, 2005--Posted at 5:00 p.m. CST


Cherokee Village--A new setback could further delay the opening of a hospital in Sharp County.  The former Eastern Ozarks Regional Health Systems was shut down last December after inspectors found health code violations.  An Illinois based company bought the facility, planning to open up a hospital again.  But, legal setbacks could delay the process.

When the current owner, Jim Cheek, purchased the facility, he also assumed responsibility for the former hospital’s debts.  And, one of those debts is $21,000 owed to a Mountain Home Company.  “It was my understanding that they purchased the debts right along with the hospital that was owed,” said Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver.  “This debt was owed prior to them purchasing the hospital.”

But, the debt hasn’t been paid.  So, the Sheriff’s department decided to sell the hospital’s equipment at a public auction.  “All we were planning on doing is selling what it took to satisfy this debt,” Sheriff Weaver said.  Cheek got a court stay to stop that from happening, but a judge will ultimately decide whether or not he must pay the debt.  A court date is set for August 22nd.