More than 660 claims totaling at least $5.2 billion have been filed against bankrupt National Century Financial Enterprises, shedding more light on the extent of the firm's alleged debts.
Last week marked the deadline for nongovernmental organizations to file claims against NCFE, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbus, Ohio, in November 2002. Many claims do not specify amounts and were not included in the dollar figure. Also, some claims may have been filed but not yet logged, an NCFE attorney said.
Among providers filing claims were: HCA, Nashville, $10.6 million; Boston Regional Medical Center, undetermined; Hutcheson Medical Center, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., $48,586; Doctors Community Healthcare Corp., Scottsdale, Ariz., $600 million; and Granada Hills Community Hospital, Los Angeles, $12 million.
Also filing was University Community Medical Center, San Diego, for an unspecified amount. Attorneys for the hospital said NCFE's conduct could amount to fraud because it sealed a deal to collect the hospital's claims just months before declaring bankruptcy. NCFE "should have known that it was in financial trouble and would not be able to complete the transaction," said one of the hospital's attorneys, Kenneth Richards of Luper Neidenthal & Logan, Columbus.
Richards acknowledged that the chances of recovery were "slim" for unsecured creditors like University Community.
The nature of all of the claims could not be determined at deadline.
NCFE, Dublin, Ohio, purchased accounts receivables from troubled healthcare providers at high discount rates. It was forced into bankruptcy because it advanced some clients, including some in which the company or its founders had financial stakes, much more money than the clients could expect to receive in reimbursements. The company is not expected to continue operating.