SRHS retirees are not happy with possible settlement - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

SRHS retirees are not happy with possible settlement

Under a potential agreement, Singing River Health System will pay $142 million into the pension plan over the next 40 years. Jackson County will pay the health system $13.6 million in the span of eight years. (Photo source: WLOX) Under a potential agreement, Singing River Health System will pay $142 million into the pension plan over the next 40 years. Jackson County will pay the health system $13.6 million in the span of eight years. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The future of the failing Singing River Health System's pension plan is again being debated. What's different this time, the debate centers around a proposed settlement plan that was leaked to the media on Sunday. And many of the retirees and their attorney's aren't happy with the plan.

The proposed settlement isn't sitting well for retiree Phyllis Denmark. 

"It's not acceptable to me and I'm going to fight it all the way. I'm going to continue to fight Singing River Hospital, their attorneys until we get what we want, what was promised to us for our hard work," Denmark said.

It's also not sitting well with Harvey Barton, the attorney representing more than 100 retirees. 

"It's a bad deal for the retirees and the beneficiaries of the plan, a very bad deal. Great deal for the county, great deal for the out of town lawyers. But a bad deal for the people who worked at the hospital."

If the county does pay into the financially troubled health care system, what does that mean? Supervisor Troy Ross had an answer. 

"As long as the county can participate without having a tax increase, I think is something that definitely could benefit everyone and make sure that the litigation goes away and the retirees and the employees get the retirements they were supposed to get to begin with," Ross explained.

But any county contribution will be used for one thing, according to Supervisor Melton Harris. 

"Any money that the county puts into Singing River Hospital will be for indigent care. Now that may indirectly give the hospital other ways to operate from a financial standpoint."

Any agreement is far from being a done deal. Secret documents made now made public could put it in jeopardy. That's the opinion of the man supervisors hired to try and salvage the pension fund, Billy Guice.  

"I think the court has to consider the integrity of the process and where we stand with that process. We're in unknown, uncharted territory right now," Guice said.

Meanwhile, the possible settlement will more than likely be discussed at a hearing in Jackson County chancery court Tuesday morning.

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