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County faces frozen RVHS payroll funds

County commissioners have asked local banks to waive fees that former River Valley Health System employees might face because of a frozen payroll account.

Friday, February 09, 2001

County commissioners have asked local banks to waive fees that former River Valley Health System employees might face because of a frozen payroll account.

The now-closed hospital’s court-appointed receiver, CPA Robert Payne, is also working to retrieve the funds and re-issue the last payroll and benefit checks, commissioners said Thursday.

National City Bank placed a hold on the hospital’s $138,000 payroll account, possibly because of liens it holds on hospital property, commission president Paul Herrell said.

The action came from the bank’s Cincinnati office, and was unwarranted, he said.

The county took control of RVHS last week as the hospital board completed its shutdown.

Checks written to employees are for the entire amount frozen, and those checks might be returned by National City Bank, commissioners wrote in a statement issued Thursday to all local banking institutions.

"The commissioners would request that each financial institution in Lawrence County waive any fees that may be charged to former River Valley Health System employees caused by these checks not being honored," the letter stated. "This would be a way of providing some assistance to these employees during this difficult time."

Payne said he planned to present a judge’s order this morning to National City and Firstar banks to release hospital funds into a receiver’s account. He said he has not yet reviewed any liens against the hospital.

The job of the receiver is to guard and collect all assets of the hospital and find an equitable way to distribute the remaining funds, he said.

Other work includes reviewing any mortgages or loan documents that exist, reviewing financial records and documents, and opening at least five tubs of mail received so far, Payne said.

"We know everyone’s concerned but we’re just getting started," he said.

The first action will likely be dealing with the payroll account issue, but any payout plans must be presented to the court first, Payne added.

Concerns about missing W-2 forms will also be addressed quickly, he said.

"Any returned in the mail we’ve been trying to get out, and we’re working to get copies out if they’re in the hospital."