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Hospital truce may not be forever

All is quiet on the local hospital front — at least publicly.

A few years ago, the barbs regularly flew between county owned Natchez Regional Medical Center and corporately owned Natchez Community Hospital.

As each facility tried to “one-up” the other in personnel and equipment, one local man referred to it as a medical arms race.

The fighting reached a fever pitch sometime just before NRMC had to file for bankruptcy after a management firm allegedly misrepresented the hospital’s financial situation, leading to poor spending decisions.

The fussing settled down a bit, presumably as one hospital thought the other was wounded and near death.

Today, both hospitals seem to be doing well. Fortunately, through the efforts of the Miss-Lou Regionalism group, the public war of words has subsided. The peace accord is welcome.

At some point soon, however, Adams County citizens may need to wrestle with the idea of whether or not having two hospitals is better than just having one.

With a rumored multi-million-dollar settlement in hand, the odds have changed considerably for Natchez Regional Medical Center.

The facility may no longer be on the financial ropes. Of course, none of us knows for certain since the hospital only releases scant financial information.

Regardless, the settlement money’s impact sparks the debate of whether or not the county should consider selling the hospital or, perhaps, attempting to buy the competition — if they’d sell.

The medical arms race may be on a temporary truce and all sides may be playing nice, but competition for patients is alive and well. That competition may not be a bad thing, but we hope any discussions involving the future of Natchez Regional are made public.