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MU Health Care plans to open Boonville clinic, Pinnacle also plans to reopen Boonville hospital

BOONVILLE, Mo. (KMIZ)

MU Health Care announced its plan to open a clinic in Boonville on Thursday.

MU Health Care is working quickly to secure clinic space so patients can continue to see the providers in Boonville.

Jesslyn Chew, MU Health Care's contact said, "They have hired former Pinnacle Regional Hospital family medicine doctors Mona L. Brownfield, MD, Robert H. Koch, MD, and family nurse practitioner Lori Weekley."

Until there is a set MU Health Care clinic in Boonville, the providers will see patients at its family medicine clinic in Fayette.

MU Health Care said the former Pinnacle employees that they added to their team are part of a larger collaboration between MU Health Care and community leaders in Boonville and Cooper county.

The company that owns Pinnacle Regional Hospital plans to reopen the facility as it goes through bankruptcy court.

Pinnacle Healthcare Systems, Inc., filed Wednesday for Chapter 11 protection in a Kansas federal bankruptcy court. The company is based in Overland Park, Kansas.

"What chapter 11 allows them (Pinnacle) to do is come up with a plan of repayment," said Brook Gotberg, a University of Missouri Law Professor. "They have the advantage of some breathing space given by the automatic stay when they initially file and then they can reorganize their finances, propose a payment to their creditors over time and liquidate whatever assets need to be liquidated."

Pinnacle management said in a news release that the company plans to reopen the Boonville hospital as part of its bankruptcy plan.

"During the bankruptcy proceedings, the Overland Park hospital, clinics and medical practices will maintain our usual operations while the Boonville hospital and clinic will re-open and resume our former services," Pinnacle CEO and marketing director Lori Davies said in a prepared statement.

Pinnacle's bankruptcy petition says the company has between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities and between 200 and 999 creditors.

The hospital closed Jan. 15 after regulators flagged problems in the facility. Pinnacle said the "economic hardship" of bringing the Boonville hospital into compliance would be too great.

The hospital's emergency room remained open from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday for patients to pick up medical records. Several Pinnacle employees laid off during the closure have found jobs with other area health care providers.

"I personally don’t think there’s a lot of people are going to trust them at this point," said Dianna Jensen, a Boonville resident. "Because they have not been good to their employees. People won’t probably won’t come back to work for this group."

ABC 17 News reported the day of the closure that some employees had filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the company owes them for unpaid insurance premiums that were held out of their checks.

"Having a hospital is very important," said Jensen. "But I don’t know if Pinnacle would be very welcome."

Chapter 11 allows a company to restructure its debts without having to sell off all of its assets. Companies often seek Chapter 11 so they can remain open and emerge from bankruptcy.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

Amber Tabeling

Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.

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