Note: The problems at Singing River Health System (Jackson County) continue to mount. The Sun-Herald has been breaking stories left and right about the troubled hospital system. It is important to start from the beginning so JJ is posting stories starting from several weeks ago and bringing readers up to speed on this crisis down on the coast.
The Sun-Herald reported on December 1 that the Singing River Health System only had 23 days of operating cash on hand. The newspaper also reported the Jackson County Board of Supervisors wanted to question former Singing River CEO Chris Anderson about the fiasco that is Singing River's finances. Mr Anderson is the current CEO of Mississippi Baptist Medical Center. The newspaper reported:
Jackson County supervisors acknowledged Monday morning that the Singing River Health System is in financial trouble and said they were open to the idea of asking former CEO Chris Anderson to come back and explain what happened.
The Sun Herald on Monday tried again to get in touch with Anderson, who left Singing River Health System for a CEO position with Baptist Hospital in Jackson earlier this year.
For months, he has not responded to calls from the newspaper. Last month, Baptist's spokesman said what's happening with Singing River Health System has nothing to do with Baptist, declined any request for an interview and said, "If Chris decides he wants to speak with you, he will call you."
Anderson left in March and the health system's chief operating officer, Kevin Holland, stepped into his shoes and announced the system was carrying $88 million in uncollectable debt and calling it operating income. Then last month, Holland announced the system had quit funding the pension plan in 2009, that it is now failing and would have to be revamped. He proposed returning the 2,400 employees and retirees their contributions with interest.....
Board President Troy Ross acknowledged that the hospital system has only 23 days of operating cash on hand, when the covenants with bond companies that handle the health system's $106 million debt require 60 days of operating expenses on hand.
It costs roughly $1 million a day to run the system, which includes both Ocean Springs and Singing River hospitals.
The county and SRHS acquired a waiver on the 60-days requirement from bond companies this year for as long as the system continues to make its debt payments, but when asked if the number of days of cash on hand needs to improve, Ross said, "Absolutely. It had better improve."
The county co-signs the health system's bond debt by pledging to raise taxes up to 5 mills to cover payments if the system should default. That would mean $50 to $60 a year for a $100,000 home in Jackson County, but $2.5 million a year for Chevron's Pascagoula Refinery.....
"We've taken a lot of steps to try and correct the problems," McKay said, "but one we haven't taken is to ask Chris Anderson, Stephanie Taylor and Mike Crews to come tell us what happened ... come before us and tell us why they did what they did. And I think this is the time to do it."
Taylor was the chief legal counsel for the health system under Anderson and Crews was the chief financial officer who retired within days of Anderson leaving. Taylor left the system two months after Anderson when her position was eliminated....Rest of the article.