More former Empower hospitals close

Three more hospitals formerly run by North Kansas City-based EmpowerHMS either suspended operations or closed for good last week.

The I-70 Community Hospital in Sweet Springs suspended operations, and the Oswego Community Hospital in southeast Kansas shut its doors. A facility in North Carolina also announced its temporary closure.

The three facilities are among multiple former Empower hospitals that have closed. The hospitals struggled under the weight of financial burdens that partly stem from being in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid. 

Empower is run by Jorge Perez, a Miami resident who has bought up rural hospitals and faces federal charges over the company’s billing practices. The billing controversy has led some insurers to remove Empower hospitals from their networks, worsening their financial situations.

I-70 Community Hospital owes nearly $400,000 as a result of being two years behind on property taxes. The hospital’s lab has been closed for weeks. 

Empower’s presence in North Kansas City has dwindled in recent months and may be gone entirely in the near future. Most of its employees are based in Miami.

Earlier this month, Empower announced an agreement with Miami-based iHealthcare on 10-year contracts to run its remaining hospitals. Several former Empower executives help run iHealthcare.

Read more: Kansas City Star.

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