In Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, it was recently announced a US Bankruptcy judge will reside over a hearing, to determine whether or not Lower Bucks Hospital is worthy of an extension to present its reorganization plan to creditors.
Judge Eric Frank has extended the filing from August 12th to the 31st; as well, he prolonged the window of time the hospital can present its reorganization plan to October 29th…and even this time may be extended as well. Judge Frank additionally set an August 27th date to listen to Lower Bucks Hospital’s plea to extend its deadlines for filing its plan while maintaining exclusivity.
Though at the start of August, the hospital requested a 90-day extension, originally, it had requested a 120-day extension—for both filing the plan and presenting it to creditors in effort to gain their support. Such requests—to extend the 120-day exclusivity period once a company or business has filed for bankruptcy protection, are commonplace and frequent these days.
Dr. Reddy Dandolu and HyperOx, a business which provides oxygen to the hospital and has had legal issues with the institution, each filed objections to the extensions saying debtors “have a burden of establishing cause for an extension and the court should not grant those extensions “routinely” or “cavalierly.””
Both entities are Lower Bucks’ creditors. Of note, Dr. William O’Brien, the oxygen company’s owner, tried at one point to round up a group of private doctors to purchase the hospital outright and convert it into a for-profit community hospital.
Contrary to the objections, the court is allowed to allow extensions up to 18 months following the business’ first bankruptcy filing and it such extensions are of the norm.
The hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back on January 13th and is still looking for relief from its large debts equating to nearly $60 million in employee pension funds and debt services.