Time is now for NRMC money plan

Published 12:06am Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is Natchez Regional Medical Center a sinking ship worth selling at a loss or is it a mismanaged business in need of a good — if painful — plan for recovery?

That’s a question that members of both the county-owned hospital’s board of trustees as well as the Adams County Board of Supervisors must ask themselves.

For the second time, the hospital’s efforts to sell itself appear to be less than fruitful. In 2008, no offers were made.

Now, after months of trying to woo deep-pocketed hospital investors into buying the aging facility, it turns out apparently the hospital has only one offer on the table and the sales price being discussed may not cover the hospital’s debts.

We say, “may” because the hospital refuses to disclose detailed financial records or details of the purchase offer on the table. While we appreciate the need for the hospital’s leadership to keep its cards close to the vest, if the hospital is burning through cash as fast as insiders seem to hint, discretion may not be the better part of valor in this case.

If, as is spoken in private conversation, millions of dollars have been lost this year, the hospital’s trustees and members of the board of supervisors need to explain the situation to the public.

Simply pointing to changes in healthcare laws and other usual suspects are not sufficient to explain how the hospital’s management allowed things to spiral down so fast.

Months ago, one county supervisor asked publicly, “What’s plan B if the hospital doesn’t sell?”

To this date, no one has answered that, all the while money — again, apparently — continues to be lost.

Maybe the hospital has a plan in place to stem financial hemorrhaging. If so, it’s time to explain it to the owners — Adams County residents.

If no plan exists, perhaps it’s time for county residents to step up and demand supervisors seek one — and fast.