UNC Health Care will acquire Morehead Memorial Hospital out of bankruptcy. In July, the nonprofit hospital in Eden filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sought bids to be acquired.
UNC initially offered $500,000 with a promise to pump millions into improving services. However, Miami-based Empower iHCC bid $11 million for the hospital. Little was known about the company, except that it was formed on Oct. 16 and is an affiliate of The Empower Group, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
On Friday, the executive committee of the UNC Health Care board held a special meeting to increase its bid to up to $11.5 million. Monday, Judge Benjamin Kahn, with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, ruled that UNC Health Care should acquire the hospital, according to UNC Health Care Spokesman Alan Wolf.
UNC has agreed to keep the hospital running for at least five years, and spend some $18 million on capital improvements, according to Wolf.
The deal is still pending, but once it closes, UNC Health Care will own the hospital outright, similar to an ownership structure it has with Raleigh hospital UNC/Rex Healthcare.