Board of Supervisors Offer to Pay for Turnaround Firm to Help SRHS

Today, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors announced their offer to Singing River Health System to foot the bill for a firm that would turn the hospital around financially.
The Jackson County Board of Supervisors is hoping Singing River Health System will accept their offer. Gail Smith, a SRHS retiree, said, “It’s worth the money because we still don’t have any clear answers from Singing River, all we have is their plea for us to trust them and their plea for integrity, community trust and honesty when they’re still not being forthcoming.”
Some retirees feel it’s just a waste of money. “It’s just another smoke screen. Something they’re throwing money at and personally, I don’t think it’s going to work,” said Willie Chesnut.
The money would come out of county funds but supervisors say they can do it without increasing taxes.
Jackson County District 4 Supervisor Troy Ross said, “We need to make sure that they account for a loss in revenue because the funding at that level is going to continue to decline for community hospitals.”
Officials say a clean turnaround is necessary, because despite what some may think, they can’t afford to fund the current pension plan without it.
Attorney Billy Guice stated again today that the ability to fund the plan at 100 percent is beyond the economic reach of any of the entities involved, but retirees say that they’d like to see some more hard evidence for themselves before they take the supervisors word for it. “We need to see more hard facts as to what it is that they are talking about. It’s just not enough to go ahead and say it’s impossible. I will believe it the day I see every avenue has been traveled and we have looked and exhausted every possibility,” said Cisco Aguilar, an SRHS retiree.
But the supervisors remain confident in their consulted experts.
Jackson County District 1 Supervisor Barry Cumbest said, “They’ve looked at the numbers very thoroughly. They’ve gone through them time and time again and actually we’ve tried to make the numbers work but the numbers, according to their calculations, just don’t work if you’re trying to fund it 100 percent.”

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