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Documents give glimpse into hospital

Reading through federal bankruptcy documents provides a glimpse into the reasons Natchez Regional Medical Center is bankrupt.

A court document in which Natchez Regional argues the bankruptcy court should not appoint a patient care ombudsman also includes a number of reasons taxpayers should be wary of trusting the people who got the hospital into the mess in the first place.

NRMC blames its financial state on “costly, ill-timed and poorly integrated acquisition of physician practices and new clinical technologies.” All of this, one would assume the former CEO and hospital board of trustees approved.

Further, NRMC still blames its former management company, Quorum, for expending “millions of dollars to recruit, relocate and subsidize physician practices.”

Blaming Quorum seems disingenuous at this point.

The hospital settled its mismanagement lawsuit with Quorum more than a year ago, and it severed ties with the company approximately five years ago. Natchez Regional’s current woes are on no one’s shoulders except its own recent leadership.

Beyond its mismanagement the hospital’s leadership has been so brash as to pay the consultant who was hired to help sell the hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars while failing to keep employee benefits and even the electrical bill current.

In addition to poor financial planning, the hospital leadership has shown disrespect to county supervisors throughout the sales and bankruptcy process, first by refusing to provide supervisors with timely financials and on Thursday by telling supervisors to “read the petition for bankruptcy” to see financial information. That’s amazingly disrespectful. Clearly this public matter has become personal.

The secretive hospital leadership alleges that an offer to buy the hospital is pending. We hope they’re correct and that the offer fully gives the public a fair value for the public resource that has been driven into the ground while its leaders stood by and watched.