Treatment continues for patients amid cancer care giant’s bankruptcy

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FORT MYERS, Fla. Thursday’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing from a cancer-care giant won’t immediately affect the day-to-day routine of its patients.

Patients shouldn’t expect any changes in their treatment, and treatment facilities will remain open, 21st Century Oncology said after the filing, in which it agreed on a financial restructuring expected to reduce its $1 billion debt by more than $500 million.

The company, in the midst of a two-year string of financial and information security trouble, insists that it remains strong and profitable. Interim CEO Paul Rundell, the third chief executive for the company in less than year, referred to the bankruptcy as a “positive development.”

But it doesn’t necessarily signal the end to 21st Century Oncology’s problems.

“If the bankruptcy is unsuccessful, the business could shut down or liquidate,” Fort Myers bankruptcy attorney Richard Johnson said. “They could go through another type of bankruptcy called a liquidation. They could be carved by their creditors into little pieces and then the business goes away.”

Even if that happens, the regulations governing healthcare providers would shield patient records.

The main concern for Margie Meier is whether she’ll be able to keep seeing the doctors of her choice. She’s a patient of Southwest Florida Urologic Associates, a Division of 21st Century Oncology.

“I hope still have my doctors, because they’re fantastic, and I wouldn’t want to lose them,” she said.

Whether that will happen is uncertain.

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