Note: The problems at Singing River Health System (Jackson County) continue to mount. The Sun-Herald has been breaking stories about the troubled hospital system since November. It is important to start from the beginning so JJ is posting stories about this fiasco that start from several weeks ago so as to give readers the history of this story.
The Sun-Herald reported on December 3 that Singing River Health Systems CEO Kevin Holland informed employees in a letter that the organization will liquidate the pension fund in the near future:
The Singing River Health System froze the employee pension fund Saturday, according to a letter from CEO Kevin Holland to employees, and it will be "officially liquidated" in the coming months.
In the letter, Holland tells employees the organization is "facing unprecedented financial challenges" that must be addressed and the county-owned hospital system is losing $30 million a year.
In light of that, Holland tells employees the pension plan hundreds of them have been contributing to for years, some for decades, will be taken apart.....
The pension plan has 2,380 enrolled, according to the health system, more than 600 of whom are already retired. It had promised employees who qualified between 50 and 70 percent of their pay for life.
The health system is Jackson County's second-largest employer and Jackson County supervisors have called in the state Auditor's Office to review operations at the system. When Holland took over in March, he announced the health system was carrying $88 million in uncollectible debt, calling it operating income. Then in October, he told employees the pension plan was failing and acknowledged the system had quit funding it after 2009.
Holland told employees in Monday's letter, "Given the low percentage at which our pension plan is currently funded, we are acting now to ensure we have as much funds as possible … Rest of article.