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: 331863

Reported Deaths: 7494
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22855279
Hinds22625437
Harrison19462326
Rankin14765286
Jackson14233251
Madison10658227
Lee10398178
Jones8713169
Forrest8164157
Lauderdale7528243
Lowndes6761150
Lamar665988
Lafayette6446124
Washington5497139
Bolivar4907134
Pearl River4889149
Oktibbeha476898
Panola4719112
Marshall4648106
Warren4612125
Pontotoc438873
Monroe4243137
Union424379
Neshoba4179180
Lincoln4088115
Hancock402788
Leflore3562125
Pike3511111
Tate348988
Alcorn343174
Sunflower342293
Adams331987
Yazoo330573
Scott330175
Simpson313690
Copiah311467
Itawamba309580
Coahoma308285
Tippah298368
Prentiss292563
Covington280183
Marion278980
Leake277975
Wayne269942
Grenada265688
George259851
Newton256064
Tishomingo235769
Winston235084
Jasper225748
Attala220373
Chickasaw215960
Stone209137
Holmes194974
Clay191554
Tallahatchie181542
Clarke181480
Calhoun177332
Smith175334
Yalobusha169240
Walthall140448
Lawrence137026
Greene134934
Amite131843
Noxubee131135
Perry130838
Montgomery130644
Carroll124531
Webster116732
Jefferson Davis112934
Tunica110827
Benton104425
Claiborne104231
Kemper100329
Humphreys99033
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw80919
Wilkinson73232
Jefferson69028
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 565510

Reported Deaths: 11468
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson828061584
Mobile44938853
Madison36534532
Tuscaloosa26589465
Shelby26409255
Montgomery25598623
Baldwin23319324
Lee16691179
Calhoun15030332
Morgan14877288
Etowah14563368
Marshall12723235
Houston11302292
Elmore10576217
St. Clair10449251
Limestone10420158
Cullman10198204
Lauderdale9883253
DeKalb9226191
Talladega8705187
Walker7545286
Autauga7388113
Jackson7216117
Blount7147139
Colbert6522142
Coffee5962131
Dale5224117
Russell463942
Chilton4603117
Covington4502125
Franklin439781
Tallapoosa4343156
Escambia414782
Chambers3813124
Dallas3674163
Clarke361562
Marion3354106
Pike323179
Lawrence3176101
Winston289672
Bibb276165
Geneva267383
Marengo257367
Barbour241860
Pickens238862
Butler233571
Hale230578
Fayette223863
Henry203345
Cherokee192347
Randolph192244
Monroe190241
Washington174539
Macon167252
Crenshaw163457
Clay161859
Cleburne158445
Lamar149138
Lowndes143854
Wilcox128431
Bullock125342
Conecuh117730
Coosa115229
Perry109628
Sumter107532
Greene95935
Choctaw63125
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