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Supervisors vote to re-advertise Greenwood Leflore Hospital for lease or sale

Tuesday, May 2, 2023, 5:51 pm News Flash Archive

Monday afternoon, the Leflore County Board of Supervisors went into executive session to receive a report from a Michigan based independent hospital consultant, Paula Autry, about her recent review of Greenwood Leflore Hospital's financial situation.

After Ms. Autry gave a short public report, the Board voted to advertise an RFP (Request for Proposals) for the lease or sale of GLH.

GLH is struggling to stay open due to its financial collapse. Services have been cut, and at the end of March, there was only $608,000 in cash on hand, even after the city and county ponied up over $4 million in cash and free utilities during the last six months.

Autry spent a week on-site in mid-April, examining financial records and interviewing the management, trustees, and staff of the hospital. She stated that she did a financial, expense, and operational assessment of GLH.

Autry praised "the strength of the GLH team, and their aggressive decisions to do the right things to make sure they maintain health services in this community."

She also praised city and county leaders for their support in keeping GLH open.

She summarized her recommendations, that the board should move forward with securing the line of credit to ensure that payroll and expenses can continue to be paid, and current services continue to be offered. She recommended that the hospital administration and trustees continue their focus on operational improvement and expense reduction.

The county and the hospital will split the $20,000 fee to Autry, plus any out-of-pocket expenses related to her work.

District 1 supervisor Sam Abraham then moved that the board approve the advertisement of a Request for Proposals to lease or sell the hospital. His motion was finally seconded by District 3's Anjuan Brown, and approved unanimously.

No mention was made of whether the text of the RFP has been prepared or approved. At some point, once that is done, it will be advertised in the local newspaper and by other means, to try to locate some entity that is interested in leasing or buying the hospital.

The previous RFP, issued last summer, garnered only one response from University of Mississippi Medical Center. After several months of negotiations, UMMC suddenly withdrew its offer, leaving GLH scrambling to stay afloat. See our previous reporting here: UMMC terminates talks to lease Greenwood Leflore Hospital

All the parties tried to keep the UMMC proposal secret, but The Taxpayers Channel obtained a copy and published it after the talks collapsed. It turned out that UMMC had rejected several key provisions in the original RFP. See our original reporting here: UMMC Response to Greenwood Leflore Hospital Lease RFP finally revealed

As of now, it is unclear whether the city and county owners of the hospital have learned their lesson from the previous failed RFP, and will draw up a more modest RFP this time around.

Last month, the board voted to go forward with the line of credit proposal, but there too, the wheels grind slowly. See our previous reporting here: Leflore County Supervisors vote to obtain $10 million line of credit for the financially struggling Greenwood Leflore Hospital

The board will hold a special meeting this Friday at 4 pm to discuss the "line of credit" proposal with the Butler-Snow attorneys. Some supervisors voiced objections to certain aspects of the original proposal drafted by the lawyers. So far as is known, the proposal will include a credit limit of $10 million, and will require up to 5 mills of property tax revenue to fund it. Either the board will have to raise property taxes, or divert current levied taxes away from other budgeted items to pay the banks to issue the credit to the hospital.

Meanwhile, nothing new has been reported on GLH's application to become a Critical Access Hospital. GLH leaders are hoping for a waiver from CMS of the 35-mile rule, which would disqualify GLH from gaining the designation. Hospital management estimates that the Critical Access designation would result in $11 million to $15 million in extra Medicare payments. See our previous reporting here: Greenwood Leflore Hospital Board approves submission of Critical Access application to CMS

Video of Monday's meeting can be viewed here: Board of Supervisors Meeting, Monday, May 1, 2023

The hospital discussion begins at the 42-minute mark.

To review our reporting on GLH and its financial woes, please see here: Index of Greenwood Leflore Hospital news articles

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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