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Astria Health, parent company of Yakima’s Astria Regional Medical Center, plans to emerge from bankruptcy by year’s end.

An Arizona attorney has been appointed to represent patients in the Astria Health bankruptcy case.

Susan Goodman of Mesch, Clark & Rothschild in Tucson, Ariz., will serve as a patient-care ombudsman in the case.

Astria Health filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 6, citing cash flow issues due to a vendor’s problems with billing and collecting payment for services. The organization is aiming to emerge from bankruptcy by year’s end.

A patient care ombudsman is appointed to monitor the quality of patient care and represent patients during a health care business’ bankruptcy. They are retained until the court finds that such a person “is not necessary for the protection of patients under the specific facts of the case,” according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Goodman has served or is currently serving in the same role in nearly 30 health care bankruptcies across the country, including that of the Kennewick Public Hospital District in 2017, according to bankruptcy filings.

Meanwhile, a meeting of creditors is scheduled at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Red Lion Hotel Yakima Center at 607 Yakima Ave., next to the Yakima Convention Center. During the meeting, Gary Dyer, U.S. Trustee in the case, will question an Astria Health representative under oath. Creditors can attend and ask questions but are not required to do so.

Astria Health operates hospitals in Yakima, Sunnyside and Toppenish, along with clinics in the area.

Chapter 11 allows an organization to reorganize its finances through a court-approved plan, while freeing it from creditors’ lawsuits during that work. Unless the court rules otherwise, the debtor remains in control of the business and assets.

Reach Mai Hoang at maihoang@yakimaherald.com or Twitter @maiphoang