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Supervisors select Horne Group to conduct hospital feasibility study

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors has selected the Horne Group as the firm that will determine if the sale of county-owned Natchez Regional Medical Center is feasible.

The Jackson-based certified public accounting and business advisory firm completed a similar study for the county in 2008. The board’s decision came at its Monday meeting at the recommendation of the hospital board of trustees.

The feasibility study is the first legal step necessary in moving forward with the sale or lease of the hospital.

County Attorney Scott Slover said after the meeting that the study would cost approximately $22,000 plus expenses, and the hospital would foot the bill.

Slover said the study should start immediately but said he does not know how long it will take.

“We would hope that it would take (no more than) 30-45 days,” he said.

The trustees recommended Horne, Slover said, because the group has served as counsel for the hospital’s audits.

“They are more familiar with the financial situation of the hospital,” he said.

The hospital — which opened in 1960 as Jefferson Davis Memorial Hospital — was built in part with county funds but has operated independently since the 1970s. It still remains a county asset, however, and its trustees are appointed by the Adams County Board of Supervisors, who have final say in any change of ownership status for the hospital.

The trustees have cited concerns about the costs and logistics associated with implementing the Affordable Care Act as the reason they asked the supervisors for permission to seek a firm to conduct the study.

In other news from the meeting:

• The board approved the purchase of a replacement van for the sheriff’s office. Col. Debbie Gee told the board that funds were available for the van in the sheriff’s special jail fund and requested the money be transferred to the account used to purchase vehicles.

The board also approved a contract for video conferencing software to allow inmates in the Adams County jail visitation by video conference.

• The board passed a resolution in memory of Bryant Adams, who died last week. Adams was chairperson of the Adams County E911 Board, a special deputy for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and a well known volunteer for the Natchez Dixie Youth Baseball League.

• The board passed a resolution of appreciation in recognition of the community service efforts of the Krewe of Fat Mama’s.