EL PASO, Texas - Board members at University Medical Center held a meeting that quickly turned tense Friday afternoon.
On the agenda: a plan of action for El Paso Children's Hospital debt that's now approaching $70 million.
The UMC board room was packed.
You can tell from looks on peoples faces there was a very serious issue at hand.
Doctors, county officials and leaders from both UMC and El Paso Children's all concerned about the future of the hospitals.
"We need to recognize that UMC is not a deep pocket banker. We cannot afford it. period," said Board Chairman William Hanson.
El Paso Childrens owes UMC $68 million, and the debt continues to grow.
UMC board members say $2.5 million a month.
At the board meeting El Paso Children's board members were expected to hand over a plan of action regarding that debt.
El Paso Childrens CEO Ray Dziesinski gave this statement:
"Our management has been working non stop to fully understand and develop an action plan to remedy the current situation. Our board is actively engaged and is taking ownership of the process and has devoted considerable time reviewing and evaluating potential options and approving a course of action."
Dziesinski said the board has met in marathon meetings and recently considered action in five areas.
Changes to the 2014 budget. Working capital, relating to their cash position near term. Regulatory relief which involves funding at the state level, strategic affiliations and long term financial arrangements.
Hanson stated in the meeting:
"We all realize on the board there are no easy answers. we realize that the choices are difficult. The choices essentially represent trade-offs between the goals and hopes of one organization, El Paso Children's hospital, versus the goals and hopes of another, University Medical Center."
El Paso Children's Hospital officials say in a statement they have evaluated over two dozens draft resolutions.
They say nothing was left off the table.
UMC board members voted to not to take action regarding its obligations to El Paso Children's for now.