Parish offers appraised price for hospital property


The parish is offering to buy the former River West Medical Center's land and buildings from a group of local physicians for the appraisal of $1.05 million, Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. reported last week.

The parish is attempting to buy the property and get federal hurricane recovery funds to restore the facility, which had been the only local hospital, and lease it to a private operator to restore services.

An architect has estimated it would take $11 million to $12 million to repair the building, the parish president said. Westside Physicians LLC had sought $5 million in federal hurricane recovery funds to repair the hurricane-damaged 80-bed hospital.

“Westside Physicians now has the decision if it will sell for that price,” Ourso said.

Chief Administrative Officer Edward A. “Lucky” Songy Jr. said Monday there had been no word from the doctor's group.

Principle Valuation LLC of Chicago, an appraisal firm specializing in hospital property hired for the appraisal, set the “as-is” market value at that price. The appraisal report noted that Westside Physicians LLC bought the property a year ago for $750,000.

“...the property sold in April 2009 for $750,000 in a distressed manner from its prior owner's,” Principle Valuation said in its appraisal report. “Discussion with the prior owner's [sic] indicated that due to the hospital's closure and condition, it did not want to risk further holding costs associated with repairing the property and maintaining ownership of the property while trying to obtain another operating tenant.”

Shiloh Health Services, which operated the hospital, was forced into bankruptcy in early 2009. Westside Physicians bought the facility just before a bankruptcy court-appointed patients' ombudsman ordered it closed after emergency room physicians, alleging non-payment from Shiloh, pulled out.

Last year, the Iberville Parish Assessor's Office had assessed the property at $98,480, 10 percent of fair market value. The 2009 tax liability was $9,875.

The property includes 17.79 acres of land and the 76,394-square-foot hospital building, as well as rehab and portable building structures that might not be owned exclusively by Westside Physicians, the appraisal report said.