Singing River Health System is ready to sell; Ochsner tops the list of potential buyers

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 2:04 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Singing River Health System is looking for a new partner. The health system’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to move forward with a plan to sell to “a like-minded healthcare organization that will invest in and grow our system.”

That like-minded healthcare organization could be Ochsner Health, which already has a partnership with Singing River. In a news release, Singing River said the healthcare system expects to engage in negotiations with Ochsner Health early in the formal process. But that proposals would be considered from other health systems that might submit “offers that are higher and/or better than Ochsner Health’s offer.”

“Ochsner Health is proud to have partnered with Singing River Health System for many years, improving healthcare along the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health in a statement to WLOX. “We understand the Singing River Board of Trustees voted to pursue a fully integrated model or sale with a like-minded healthcare organization. Because of our existing partnership with Singing River Health System, we look forward to engaging in the formal process, and it is our goal to enter into a long-term fully integrated relationship to continue serving the communities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast together.”

But before any of that happens, the Board of Trustees must first present a resolution to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. That’s set to happen at the supervisors’ June 6th meeting. If supervisors approve the resolution, they will then set a public hearing on the issue. All the steps are laid out in a formal statutory process.

County supervisors won’t comment on the issue until Monday’s meeting. But they stress that any decision about selling the hospital system requires input from Jackson County residents.

As for employees and patients, right now, nothing will change.

“Our Board of Trustees is singularly focused on doing everything possible to secure the best future for local healthcare in Jackson County and along the Gulf Coast while managing the complexities of a constantly evolving healthcare industry. Over the last decade, the healthcare industry has continually changed, with community hospitals like ours facing the strongest headwinds. To keep delivering award-winning care to our patients, our Board of Trustees and Executive Leadership Team continuously evaluate partnerships and collaborative opportunities. They believe the time is right to explore a fully integrated model that will benefit our employees, physicians and advanced practice providers – ensuring the best possible future of healthcare in our communities.”

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