Riverland Medical Center looks at feasibility of replacing facility

Published 12:03am Sunday, August 31, 2014

FERRIDAY — Riverland Medical Center’s board of directors has authorized a feasibility study to weigh the options of replacing the parish-owned hospital structure.

The hospital’s physicians initiated the discussion that led to the authorization of the feasibility study, which will look at staff retention, the patient base area, doctor retention and the hospital’s location, among other things, Hospital Administrator Billy Rucker said.

“Two of our youngest doctors approached the board and staff about the possibility (of the study),” Rucker said. “We are 50-years old, and we can’t continue to keep putting money and maintenance into a 50-year-old building.”

Rucker said the move for a feasibility study should not be seen as the start of a move from Ferriday.

“Everybody thinks we are going to move, but we want to know what is the best fit for the area, a new hospital there (in Ferriday), a branch of the hospital or what,” he said.

Riverland Medical Center opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital. The 25-bed facility operates as an independent sub-body of the Concordia Parish Police Jury, and is controlled by a board of directors.

The hospital is partially funded by a 10-year renewal tax, which generates approximately $630,000 annually.

RMC is considered a critical access hospital by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which means it has no more than 25 inpatient beds, the annual average length of stay for acute care inpatient treatment is no more than 96 hours, it offers 24-hour, 7-day-a-week emergency care and being located in a rural area.

RMC also offers general surgery.

Critical access hospitals are given cost-based reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, while hospitals that don’t qualify for such — including Natchez Regional Medical Center and Natchez Community Hospital — are reimbursed on standard fixed rates.

Rucker said the hospital is still evaluating firms for the feasibility study, and the commissioning of the study will likely be started by the end of this week.

Rucker said hospital officials hope the study will be done by the first of October.