Concern grows over financial stability of Singing River Health System

Concern grows over financial stability of Singing River Health System

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Does Singing River Health System have enough cash on hand to operate its two hospitals? That question came up at Monday's Jackson County board of supervisors meeting. This after system officials announced earlier the pension plan was under funded by more than $140 million and $88 million in un-collectable debt had been written off as Doug Walker reports, concern is growing about the financial future of the county's second largest employer.

With only 23 days of cash on hand, when it should be at least 60, some former Singing River Health System employees are saying the situation is not getting better, but worse. One of them is Trudy Nelson.

"It's beyond the pension plan. It's beyond the not expanding of medicare. It's beyond any of that. It's mismanagement," Nelson told supervisors.

She also wants them to take charge.

"Have a town hall meeting, with you, the board of trustees, and the current administration and get the answers out there," Nelson said.

But those answers are hard to come by. At least right now. Troy Ross is a supervisor.

"We're still in the process of gathering all the information and putting together a plan for long term success for the hospital," Ross explained.

Supervisors even want the former CEO of the system, Chris Anderson to come back and explain what happened and why.

Some also question how the financial crises has been handled, such as supervisor Melton Harris.

"We speak so often about transparency, but sometimes we put up a smokescreen so you really won't see what is really there. Sometimes people fear what could happen if the truth is known," Harris told fellow board members.

While all the supervisors are expressing concerns over the financial condition of Singing River Health System, they also said this bad publicity about what's happening could lead to something even worse, according to supervisor John McKay.

"We don't want people to stop using our facility because of all this disruption and then you compound the problem when people say, well I'm not going there. I'm going to Gulfport or Biloxi. I'm going somewhere else because of their problems and then we're losing more and more revenue," McKay said.

And losing more revenue is something Singing River Health System can hardly afford. Health system officials declined an on camera interview. They did issue a statement about the cash on hand concerns.  It said in part the system has restructured payments with the bond insurer as the system continues to work on improving its cash flow. The statement did acknowledged the 23 day figure, but also pointed out that is two days ahead of the goal they had set for the end of November.

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