Sunday, July 31, 2022

Bill Crawford: Financial Straits May Force Hospital Ownership Changes

Hospitals in Mississippi face unprecedented financial pressures. Now two more have been forced to seek out new owners. The City of Greenwood and Leflore County have put jointly owned Greenwood Leflore Hospital up for bid. Jackson County supervisors will hold a public hearing on August 17 after voting to consider putting county owned Singing River Health Systems (SRSH) up for bid.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reported its local hospital was already losing millions of dollars annually prior to the COVID pandemic. Finances have gotten worse since with the hospital likely to run out of cash as early as October.

“We entered the pandemic with $20 million in the bank, “hospital spokesman Gary Marchand told the newspaper. “We are currently resting at around $5 million.”

The Sun-Herald reported Singing River Health System needs a cash infusion of $287 million to cover hospital costs over the next five years. This follows a Raymond James financial analysis presented to the county that said the hospital needs to find “a strategic capital partner.”

Failure to put the hospital up for sale, supervisors said, would force them to heavily increase taxes. One estimate said county taxes would have to go up as much as 75%. Jackson County Chancery Clerk Josh Eldridge told WLOX, “If they truly need that type of support, there’s no way the county can fund it.”

Both hospitals are the second largest employers in their counties.

The Northside Sun reported that discussions have been held with the University of Mississippi Medical Center about joint operation of Greenwood Leflore Hospital. The 800 pound gorilla in the room for this scenario is the hospital’s weak cash position. Facing financial pressures itself, can UMMC take on a cash strapped hospital?

The Raymond James study reported Singing River also faces a current cash squeeze with a daily operating balance averaging half the norm – about a $17 million shortfall. The study also looked at potential sales value for the system.

The Sun-Herald reported Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans would be interested in acquiring SRHS. Ochsner already has a strong presence along the Gulf Coast and recently completed a merger with Rush Health Systems in Meridian. At least one Mobile, AL., hospital system may be interested too.

Sales and mergers of Mississippi hospitals represent a growing trend. In addition to the Rush/Ochsner merger, others in recent years include Mississippi Baptist Health Care in Jackson merging into Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis and St. Dominic Health Services in Jackson being acquired by Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL) Health System in Baton Rouge.

One knowledgeable source said to expect additional mergers, acquisitions and even some closures as hospital finances continue to deteriorate. “All this turmoil could be avoided if state officials would agree to some form of Medicaid expansion,” he added. Another said officials should consider this a disaster and provide emergency relief.

Whatever, community controlled hospitals may soon be a relic of the past.

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” – Proverbs 12:15.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.



Anonymous said...

What became of the SCANDAL over the Singing River Hospital fund?

Anonymous said...

No surprises in this piece.

The insurance industry is dictating health care.
Patient's choices in doctors and decisions to make us take generics often medicines from substandard, poorly regulated factories overseas as well as less effective choices is profitting insurers and killing us!
Our life spans as well as falling into 3rd world health measures is outstanding.
But, too many of us fall for industry self- praise and bogus jargon "excuses and explanations ".
They pay our representatives in wining and dining and "free vacations" in disguise as " guest speeches" at conventions.
We are so ignorant in math and business and law and economics and what is necessary for republics and democracies to function, that we will again be little more that serfs to a new royalty or dictatorship where the ruling class is not benevolent. You can call the leader President or Prime Minister or any other noun and even hold " elections" but with one party or one family and it's loyalists in power controlling and limiting the right for citizens to vote, and voting of every citizen made harder , titles of rulers have no meaning. It's not a rose by " any other name". It is decay with no fragrance( freedom) at all.
It's likely too late thanks to those of you who worship your party and won't hold them accountable for their lack of ethics and honesty!

Anonymous said...

Dang - I thought fir a second I was going to get thru Crawfords column without him using these examples as another excuse for him to play his continual harp on 'Medicaid expansion'..

But alas, no possible way. After his detail 'reporting' of these two institutions financial situation he failed to cover what has been in the news about both of these facilities for the past several years - their financial mismanagement - and went right straight to his standard chorus.

Google Singing River and I will bet the first twenty news stories will revolve around their pension system's storied history, along with their 'investments' in properties not hospital (but political) related.

John Pittman Hay, in his "Taxpayer Channel" blog has been reporting on Greenwood Leflore's management failures for over five years -which are too numerous to list here but relate to having a public entity with an appointed board making business decisions ----- with other people's money. (Kinda like Singing River's problems)

But no. None of that history is important to Crawford's "analysis" of the problem. His intent is to pursue his solution - Nedicaid expansion - and lolfound these two failures to use as a justification.

Anonymous said...

How many of the non-paying patients have ailments caused by their own lifestyle choices? Additionally, it appears that the "leadership" in MS is content to just let the majority poor areas of Mississippi to sink completely into the abyss of total hopelessness.

Anonymous said...

SRHS is just another trough of tax dollars and OPM at which the crooked hogs gorge themselves, like nursing homes, rehab centers, etc. Lee Bond, ex-CEO, is now hooked up with Ted Cain's Focus Group, which continues to get large state advertising contracts even after the Cains got hit with millions in judgements for Medicare fraud at Stone County Hospital. SRHS has long been a source of beak-wetting for its various admins, board members, law firms, etc.

From the dissent in "SRHS Ambulatory Services, Inc. V. Pinehaven Group, Llc, and First American Title Company," a MSSC opinion from last week yet again involving SRHS:

"The Jackson County Board of Supervisors (County) and its community hospital,
Singing River Health Systems (SRHS) return to this Court in search of another economic and financial windfall simply because of their inability to follow proper public contracting practices. See, e.g., Singing River MOB, LLC v. Jackson Cnty., No. 2019-IA-01630-SCT, 2021 WL 5371237 (Miss. Nov. 18, 2021)3; Jackson Cnty. v. KPMG, LLP, 278 So. 3d 1124 (Miss. 2019); KPMG, LLP v. Singing River Health Sys., 283 So. 3d 662 (Miss. 2018)."

And of course, there are various webs and ties among the main players to Memorial (Kent Nicaud and his family), St. Dom, etc., etc. With the cyclone of cash swirling around "healthcare," it should come as no surprise at all that grifters and thieves are attracted to it just like any other trough overflowing with public money. It's all just good ol' Mississippi dealin' and stealin'.

Anonymous said...

143 = why should the "leadership" of Mississippi bail out the mismanagement of facilities due to local board idiocy?

And, since when has Jackson County (Singing River) or Lauderdale County (Rush Hospital) been considered 'majority poor areas' of the state?

Or, were you just following Crawford's lead on blaming these problems on those you don't like? If so, you did a good job --- lemming

Anonymous said...

The best way to rob a hospital is to run it?

Anonymous said...

It’s called uncompensated care-

Anonymous said...

CONsolidation is the watch word. After moving from Madison back home to SC. I found the largest hospital group in upstate SC had changed its name to Prisma Health. The word hospital was removed everywhere. Slowly over time they were CONsolidating small hospitals around the upstate and beyond right up to the state house in Columbia. Yes, they COnsolidated Baptist and Richland Memorial into the mighty Prisma. They had plans to CONsolidate Provenience Hospital but several state senators balked. They demanded Prisma provide info on their plans and the details on just how taking the #1 heart hospital in SC into their fold. Prisma's answer to the SC senate was swift "drop dead". So the senate moved to have MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina Hospital Group) take over Providence Group. According to reports no more expansion by Prisma until they provide more info on future plans.

On the senate floor the speaker said about Prisma "it is the single largest contributor to unemployment in South Carolina".

Anonymous said...

What's new? Aren't Baptist and St D the only two in the metro that have not changed names and ownership twice withing the past fifteen years?

They've begun doing the 'signage lettering' with masking tape.

Anonymous said...

2:38 wrote, "And, since when has Jackson County (Singing River) or Lauderdale County (Rush Hospital) been considered 'majority poor areas' of the state?"

That isn't my reply being quoted, but when it comes to the costs of healthcare, every square inch of Mississippi is "poor." There isn't a state, county/parish/etc., city/town/metro area, or any other subdivision of governmental function in the entire US where its population can afford non-subsidized medical care under the current system. It has nothing to do with "single payer," it's "multiple thieves." It has nothing to do with "universal health care," it's "universal pocket-lining." A huge amount of money is skimmed long before any patient care gets addressed. That is one of the many reasons, and many ways, money is skimmed off for the troughs.

And as much as is skimmed off, those involved still want more. That's what the UMMC v BCBS fight is over: the admins at BCBS want to steal it before the admins at UMMC can get their hands on it (yeah, that's a bit oversimplified, but not by much). The oft-cited healthcare systems around the world aren't "cheaper" than in the US, the admin regime in those systems just don't steal nearly as much off the top.

Want to cut total US healthcare costs in the US by at least 50% in literally one day? Make it mandatory life without parole in a Supermax prison along with draconian asset forfeiture for even $1 of healthcare or medical fraud of any kind effective on the 91st day after enactment. Allow 90 days of self-reporting in the form of full allocution, a guilty plea, a waiver of appeal, and get sentenced and forfeiture/restitution under the current guidelines. Anyone who hasn't come to Jesus in those 90 days gets sentenced under the new system with no more plea bargains of any kind. Then get serious about prosecuting it. I know, I know, of course it will never happen.

Anonymous said...

"The best way to rob a hospital is to run it?"

The best to rob it is to own it, at least until you get caught. See Ted Cain as an example. Running it is the second best but "running it" doesn't always mean "in the c-suite." Sometimes the c-suite folks can only stick in a snout after the fatter hogs who really run things get theirs. See SRHS and its fatter hogs being ahead of the various admins as an example.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bill - Singing River Hospital would certainly be in fine shape if only your expansion of Medicaid by those you seem to hate would occur. If that had happened, then maybe their $3.6 million land purchase ten years ago (20% more than appraised value) for some unspecified purpose of their ambulatory service division would not have led to a Supreme Court appeal as they tried to screw the title insurance company into refunding their loss on the investment. One more of their many, many dips into the trough of the hospitals cash by its so called leaders.

Yes, Bill - its all about Medicaid expansion. Nothing to do with how these specific institutions have been run.

(I didn't even bother to enter into the discussion about the SRHS misuse of their pension funds - that's old news. I'm sure even Bill has heard about that, and probably already blamed it on the lack of Medicaid as well.)

Krusatyr said...

Crawford source, possibly Northside Sun, a perpetual proponent of socialized medicine in MS, claims Expansion of Medicaid can save insolvent hospitals.

That foolish move will run up costs and ultimately destroy quality of care. No doc I know wants Medicaid patients because approved fees are less than actual costs to provide the service.

Once federal subsidies expire, state taxpayers will fund the expanded socialized, substandard care program and its wasteful, dependent hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Greenwood Leflore Hospital and other hospitals around the state should go to Ruleville and take a lesson on Hospital 101 from Dr. Don Blackwood and Billy Marlow. They took a small town dead-in-the-water hospital and turned it around into a major employer for Ruleville.

Anonymous said...

Greenwood should not merge with UMMC, they already have Lexington and Grenada and anything major just gets sent to Jackson. Greenwood would be better off with to merge with Delta Health of Greenville which has started acquiring area hospitals, Baptist, or Ochsner which has moved into Cental and North Mississippi with the Rush deal.

Anonymous said...

Krusatyr wrote, "Crawford source, possibly Northside Sun, a perpetual proponent of socialized medicine in MS, claims Expansion of Medicaid can save insolvent hospitals.

That foolish move will run up costs and ultimately destroy quality of care. No doc I know wants Medicaid patients because approved fees are less than actual costs to provide the service.

Once federal subsidies expire, state taxpayers will fund the expanded socialized, substandard care program and its wasteful, dependent hospitals."

I have no idea whether you actually believe all of that or not, but it is plain wrong. First, you are confusing "subsidized" with "socialized" but many - most - people do. The US has had highly subsidized and cost-redistribution healthcare for at least 40 years. As to "socialized medicine," it isn't even possible anywhere in this world or any other. The easiest and most readily-understandable point to illustrate that impossibility is there is no way for society to own the true, bottom-line means of production. With medicine and medical care, the "means of production" is a skillset not a hospital, operating theater, machine, or any other object. It is the combined education, training, experience, aptitude, and ethos of the doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. No one can own, buy, rent, or steal my skill and ability as a doctor and surgeon, just as I could not own, rent, or steal the skills and abilities of a dancer, singer, athlete, artist, plumber, etc. I couldn't even give them to another, nor can the others give their skillsets to anyone.

To be sure, society could own the facility, be it a hospital, a sports stadium, museum, or studio, and which it often does, but it would be useless without the particular and nontransferable skillsets that are the true "means of production."

Anonymous said...

2:38, let me put this a little more succinctly. Much of the State is turning/has turned to sh$t, and the Republicans in charge don't give a darn about doing anything to stop the plummeting. They also couldn't care less about propping up the hospitals that mostly serve the uninsured who are morbidly obese, third world poor, and have no hope of escape to a better life.

Anonymous said...

"They took a small town dead-in-the-water hospital and turned it around into a major employer for Ruleville."

Ah, the function of a hospital is NOT to be an employer. Lots of folks think the function of government and other public service institutions is to provide jobs.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad all you hospital experts are here with insurance experts to give all the answers.

Anonymous said...

This whole Blue Cross vs. UMMC thing centers around hospital acquistions for UMMC. They want higher reimbursement rates health outcomes be damned for everything they touch. This is all just a money game. Has nothing to due with what's best for healthcare consumers. Blue Cross nor UMMC could care less.

Krusatyr said...

None of your points defeat my argument. Communist countries have doctors who are communists. Che Guevara was trained as a doctor but was also a commie and a killer for Cuba.

Anonymous said...

Krusatyr said...

None of your points defeat my argument. Communist countries have doctors who are communists. Che Guevara was trained as a doctor but was also a commie and a killer for Cuba."

What does the politics of any or even all doctors have to do with their skillset being non-transferable and therefore a possession which cannot be collectively owned?

Also, trained as a doctor and being a skilled doctor are two different things. Guevara was trained as a doctor but there is no real evidence of his skill as one, nor did he ever practice. What there is evidence of is his ideas on what is mislabeled as "socialized medicine" (most really mean distributed-cost/"publicly-funded" health care). Like so much else connected with socialism it is a wonderful idea on paper: that every person would always receive all the healthcare (or food, housing, education, whatever) they might need at no cost to anyone because of the collective efforts and ownership of society. Unfortunately, like perpetual motion and free "green" energy, it simply does not and cannot work that way in the real world.

Che Guevara doesn't seem quite so lofty when you realize he was wearing one of his Rolexes and still getting an allowance when they shot his ass. In more pedestrian terms, it is very easy for kids to be socialists when mom and dad are paying the bills, along with providing an American Express card for "emergencies."

Anonymous said...

Krusatyr, please try to have a modicum of common sense and a hint of being well educated if you want to persuade. At least, not make it appear English is not your first language or you'd know definitions of words.
Please see how those States who did expand Medicare are doing compared to States that did not.
Please get your history right. Those doctors in Communist countries are by definition and necessity, Communist in name. You cannot grasp the difference in economics as a part of governance and governance. But, in a purely Communist economic system, the government owns all businesses and professionals are government employees.
Are the doctors in Sweden or Great Britain or Australia or Canada or Germany all Communists? Of course not!
The tools doctors need to practice their profession and deliver services to more patients to improve health generally, involve some government support. Medicine is not a business. It's a profession.
I expect nothing better from you given your very revealing choice of a screen name. I doubt you are a Mississippian or an American.
And, I remind you, you help insurers dictate the help care we receive! I want my doctor of choice and I do decide my health care and the government to make that easier, not more difficult!

Anonymous said...

A storm named Anderson first made landfall in Jackson County, Ms. After doing tremendous damage to the local hospital system, with the help of the then SRHS board, this same system then moved inland to the Jackson metro area and is still active today. After all of these years the total estimate of damages in Jackson County has not been finalized. Not one person has been held accountable.

Anonymous said...

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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