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
starting from several weeks ago, to give readers the history of this
The Sun-Herald reported on December 15 the Jackson County Board of Supervisors actually signed an agreement with the Singing River Health System to gain access to the system's financial records. (KF note: Of course, why should the county sign an agreement to review what it already owns?):
Jackson County supervisors signed a memorandum with Singing River Health System that gives them access to the health system's financial records.
The agreement continues retiree pay for up to 90 days. It also continues to eliminate mandatory 3 percent payroll deductions employees contributed to the retirement fund.
During the 90 days, the agreement says, the county will oversee an independent review of pension fund finances. If the review determines "other options" exist for the pension fund, the agreement says the health system will consider those options "reasonably and in good faith." The option the Singing River Board of Trustees chose for the pension plan was to terminate it. They voted Nov. 20 to do so with two county supervisors present, board president Troy Ross and Supervisor Mike Mangum.
As part of the agreement, the hospital also will appoint an independent trustee to oversee the plan until the review is finished. The agreement prohibits any further action that could affect the plan's operation.
"We do have a signed document that is going to give the county a mechanism to
require any and all information and help us to get our experts to determine the best outcome for our hospital situation," Ross said. "We will have a plan where we will lay out what we plan on doing, where we plan on going and how we are going to get there."
The agreement also says Singing River will give the county access to all financial information requested. Supervisors said any questions about the agreement will be answered at 9 a.m. today in a news conference to be held in the board meeting room.....
After a lengthy executive session Monday, supervisors also announced they hired the law firm of Rushing and Guice, but would not say if the attorneys were hired to deal with potential litigation involving the health system. A board attorney had said prior to entering executive session that the supervisors were going to discuss potential litigation involving the health system.
In the event of litigation, the agreement says the health system and Jackson County will be considered separate entities.
According to the agreement, the health system will provide Jackson County all documents and information requested that would allow the county a "full examination of the financial situation, currently, in the past and projected for the future of the hospital, including all of its facilities." That information will include any records related to the health system's defined benefit plan.
In addition, the agreement gives the county, through its attorneys, complete access to communicate with those employed by the hospital in the last 10 years.
The agreement allows the county access to all of the financial information so that they can independently evaluate the "current, past and future financial stability of the hospital and to properly evaluate the state of the plan." That independent review allows the county access to review "expenditures, account receivables, contracts, and accounting procedures" that ultimately led to the health system's current financial crisis..... Rest of article.
Earlier posts on Singing River:
Singing River Saga Dec. 12: The court fights begin.
Singing River Saga Dec. 8: "Who knew what when" is the question.
Cartoon on Singing River
Singing River Saga, December 5: Judge freezes pension liquidation.
Adding more pieces to the Singing River puzzle
Singing River on December 3: Liquidate Pension Plan
Singing River Pension Disaster: No excuses
Singing River audit
Singing River: 23 days cash on hand, Supes want to question MBMC CEO
What the hell was going on at Singing River?