At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, registered nurse Donna Renfro was ready to leave her job at the Fairfax Community Hospital for the last time.
Renfro has been there for almost 30 years, but not being paid for four months has taken its toll on her and most of the other employees.
“It's broken us,” Renfro said. “When you put your heart and soul in for four months, and you work for free thinking there's a rainbow at the end of that, and you get a pile of something else? You know, you're just defeated.”
Late word this afternoon out of North Carolina federal court is a judge has ordered the Oklahoma company that will be managing Fairfax community and five other Green Country hospitals, to pay Renfro and the others for two back pay periods.
All of this comes after months of court proceedings, where ownership was handed over to the City of Fairfax, and then things landed in the North Carolina bankruptcy courts. All at the request of attorneys representing Jorge Perez, CEO of the original group that owned the Fairfax Community Hospital and dozens of other rural hospitals around the country.
Perez has been named in at least one federal lawsuit, accusing him of illegal billing practices in Georgia.
A bankruptcy trustee for Perez has assigned a management group out of Shawnee to run the Fairfax hospital.
"We have employees very unhappy with the choice of management company, but this is the choice of the trustee in North Carolina, not our choice,” Fairfax resident Carol Conner said.
Fairfax city leaders say it’s not ideal, but they’re glad the hospital will stay open.
Now, anyone, a physician's assistant, a nurse, an administrator or secretary who wants to stay with the hospital and its new owners will have to reapply for their jobs.
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