SRHS Retirees Gathered Outside Magnolia Ballroom to Protest Roundtable Meeting

Singing River leaders, Jackson County supervisors and state legislators came together in Pascagoula today to discuss the hospital’s financial state. But one group who did not feel welcome to the meeting was the hospital’s retirees.
News 25’s Kristen Durand has the details.
Singing River Health System retirees were out picketing again today, but this time not in front of the hospital. They stood outside the Magnolia Ballroom in Pascagoula with their signs, as a roundtable meeting about the hospital happened inside.
Eddie Manning, a SRHS retiree, said, “This is the only way we can speak out, is showing our signs and showing how we are being mistreated.”
While supervisors invited the public to come listen in on the meeting, retirees tell News 25 they weren’t invited to be a part of the discussion. Sabrina Smith, daughter of an SRHS retiree, said, “John McKay said we could come but we were not allowed to speak and if we had anything to say, we needed to stay home. So, the only way they can get their voices heard is sitting out in this heat and with their signs.”
Singing River Health System CEO Kevin Holland said, “To my knowledge, everyone was invited to this and every one of these retirees and everybody can come to the meeting. There was nobody that was excluded from the process.”
During the meeting, hospital leaders said they’d be outside afterwards to talk to retirees and answer questions face to face, but the retirees feel that they didn’t get a fair shake. “Low and behold, they walked out and left. They didn’t even acknowledge the retirees and I thought that was rude,” said Smith.
With an election in the near future, retirees told us today’s meeting was more about campaigning than discussing the root of the issue. “It’s all propaganda to make the retirees feel that they’re not wanted,” said Manning.
During the meeting, hospital CFO Lee Bond said he came into the picture in the middle of the hospital experiencing a “financial Katrina.”
Singing River Health System CEO Kevin Holland tells News 25 retirees have a right to be frustrated, and he hopes to move forward in a productive way. “We’ve taken an enormous expense out of our entire management structure. We’ve eliminated over 130 jobs over the past year. Many of these jobs have been management level jobs and we’ve consolidated our management positions,” said Holland.

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