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.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
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