Auditor: 6 rural public hospitals struggling in Mississippi

Six of the 19 rural, county-owned hospitals in Mississippi were in poor financial condition in the budget year that ended in June 2016, state Auditor Stacey Pickering said in a report Wednesday.

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 8:35 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2017 11:25 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Six of the 19 rural, county-owned hospitals in Mississippi were in poor financial condition in the budget year that ended in June 2016, state Auditor Stacey Pickering said in a report Wednesday.

The report says three of those listed in poor condition are in the Delta: Greenwood Leflore and Tallahatchie General hospitals, and North Sunflower Medical Center.

Two are in the northeastern part of the state: Tippah County Hospital and Magnolia Regional Health Center in Alcorn County. One, Franklin County Memorial Hospital, is in the southwest.

The report says two of the 19 rural, public hospitals were in excellent financial condition. They are Jasper General and Neshoba County General.

Three were in good financial condition, and eight were in fair condition.

"Our federal delegation — our congressmen, our senators — as well as our state Legislature, all need to know where our high-risk areas are when it comes to health care in the rural community," Pickering told reporters.

Since 2010, five rural public hospitals in Mississippi have closed.

Communities can be hit hard by a hospital closing, with loss of emergency services and primary care, Pickering said. The lack of a hospital can make job creation more difficult because executives want to develop companies where their employees have access to health care. A closing also wipes out hospital jobs and could force physicians or other health providers to move away, hurting the local tax base.

Mississippi has 113 hospitals, private and public. Pickering said his office used federal guidelines to define which of the county-owned hospitals are considered rural, and the 19 in the report are not leased or managed by any other entity.

The list of 19 includes OCH Regional Medical Center in Oktibbeha County. In a November election, local residents rejected a proposal to sell the 96-bed hospital. The auditor's report lists the hospital in fair financial condition.

For each of the 19 hospitals, the auditor's office evaluated profitability, the number of days of cash on hand, debt financing and the age of the facilities. Pickering said that since 2015, hospitals that participate in the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System have had to list their pension obligations as part of their financial picture.

Statement from Magnolia Regional Health Center:

“In response to the assessment of public rural hospitals’ financials by the Office of the State Auditor, we feel like it is important to elaborate on the factors that contributed to Magnolia Regional Health Center’s “poor” financial rating for fiscal year 2016. The Office of the State Auditor based their review on audited financial statements that took into account the effects of regulations mandated by Governmental Accounting Standards Board 68 (GASB 68),” said Ronny Humes, Chief Executive Officer at Magnolia Regional Health Center. “These regulations were initiated in 2014, requiring public hospitals to record on their financials their portion of the unfunded liability of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). Although these liabilities appear on our financial statements, we have paid all of our contributions required by PERS . Removing the impact of GASB 68, our financial strength index score would reflect an “excellent” score for 2015 and a “good” score for 2016. The decline from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016 reflects a major IT upgrade the hospital underwent to better enhance the continuum of care for the patients we serve and to better compete in the changing healthcare arena. We are confident our current financial position will allow us to continue to provide care in Alcorn County and the surrounding region for years to come.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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