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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Grupo HIMA insists on selling assets as part of bankruptcy


Grupo HIMA San Pablo, one of Puerto Rico’s largest hospital systems, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday and is seeking a process for selling its assets.

By The Star Staff


The genesis of Grupo HIMA San Pablo’s recent bankruptcy filing can be attributed to a history of disparate statutory treatment for Medicare and Medicaid programs and payments to Puerto Rico compared to the mainland states, the effects of the 2017 hurricanes, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the loss of revenues caused by the closing of health insurers and lawsuits.


Grupo HIMA San Pablo, one of Puerto Rico’s largest hospital systems, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday and is seeking a process for selling its assets. The hospital system was forced to declare bankruptcy after it was unable to renegotiate its debts, which have surpassed the $400 million mark.


The hospital system consists of several entities such as Grupo HIMA San Pablo Inc., Centro Medico del Turabo Inc. (CMT), HIMA San Pablo Properties Inc., Portal de Caguas Inc., Jocar Enterprises Corp., Jerusalem Home Ambulance Inc., Host Security Services Inc., CMT Development LLC and IA Developers Corp., which all filed for bankruptcy. However, according to a statement from HIMA’s president and CEO, Armando Rodríguez, there are additional related companies, subsidiaries and nonprofit organizations supported or promoted by Grupo HIMA.


“The last available appraisal reports prepared and reviewed by me for the five operating units were completed in the year 2019 and provided aggregate real property values of $242,300,000, for the real estate components of the businesses,” Rodríguez said.


As of Dec. 31, 2022, HIMA was carrying at least $390.1 million in secured debt obligations. HIMA is currently in default under the first and second term loans which matured in January 2018 and July 2018, respectively. Notwithstanding these defaults, on Nov. 24, 2021, the company entered into an agreement with its first lien lenders to provide a $10 million super priority facility to support the company’s efforts to address its liquidity and capital structure issues, for which only $4.6 million was funded on Nov. 24, 2021. The first lien lenders subsequently advanced an additional $750,000 on a super priority basis to allow the debtors to prepare for and commence these cases.


As of May 30 of this year, meanwhile, Grupo HIMA had no less than $11.8 million in secured debt in property taxes with the Municipal Revenue Collections Center. As to other secured debt, Centro Médico del Turabo Inc, has certain leasing agreements pertaining to several medical equipment, which amount to $4.6 million.


Grupo HIMA has also amassed certain unsecured debts, the principal amounts of which include salaries, $3.1 million; suppliers, $55 million; health providers, $21.5 million; Treasury Dept. (unemployment), $11.7 million; Treasury Dept., $36 million; Internal Revenue Service (FICA), $13.6 million; Internal Revenue Service (FUTA), $26,000; Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, $5.9 million; LUMA Energy, $49.6 million; and State Insurance Fund, $15.3 million.


Besides the disparate treatment in health funds and natural disasters, HIMA Group also noted that the descent of the hospital system was exacerbated by a 2019 local court order to liquidate Constellation Healthcare, a Medicare Advantage insurance carrier, causing a 7% reduction, or some $27.9 million, in CMT’s revenue. Meanwhile, in 2020, Molina Health of Puerto Rico Inc., the company granted the Caguas region for Puerto Rico’s government health plan, ceased its operations in Puerto Rico. “This abrupt exit has forced CMT to battle in lengthy administrative litigation before ASES [the island Health Insurance Administration] to collect on approximately $28 million,” Rodríguez said.


Separately on Thursday, at-large Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera urged the island Senate to approve Resolution 646, which seeks to investigate how to support medical-hospital facilities in Puerto Rico, including the possible granting of tax credits for the purchase of equipment related to electricity generation and distribution.


“In August 2022, along with fellow senators Carmelo Ríos and Gregorio Matías, we filed Senate Resolution 646, which seeks to investigate everything related to the generation and distribution of energy in hospitals,” Riquelme said. “This was with the purpose, among other things, of outlining an incentive program aimed at hospitals acquiring modern energy equipment, with greater efficiency that helps them reduce operational costs.”


“We cannot sit idly by,” Ríos added. “This measure provides a mechanism to evaluate aid such as credits to lower energy-related expenses, which is quite a lot. We ask that they approve the resolution next Monday.”

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