Hospital needed a MacGyver

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Like a real-life MacGyver, Gov. Haley Barbour managed to turn an ink pen into a heart defibrillator Monday.

Barbour’s signature clears the way for the financially critical Natchez Regional Medical Center to file bankruptcy.

On the surface, that doesn’t sound like good news. And in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t. Having the county-owned hospital file bankruptcy is awful, shameful even.

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But given the cards on the table, bankruptcy seems to be the best option to avoid disaster.

Bankruptcy will give the hospital a chance to survive for a bit longer — even if ultimately it means the hospital comes out looking and functioning differently, or even if the hospital is ultimately sold.

When all of the bankruptcy paperwork is done, Natchez Regional will submit its plans for how it can get financially healthy and how it can begin paying back debtors.

And, as the board works its future plan, hospital employees and citizens must be patient — and positive.

Lots of people want to know what they can do to help the hospital. Many of those people have long relationship with the hospital and its employees.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do in support of Regional is utilize its services. And, if you have used the hospital’s services, pay the bill.

An important thing to realize is that taxpayers own the building, but taxpayers don’t pay a penny toward the management of the hospital.

But the taxpayers will wind up paying for the debt of the hospital if the hospital’s heart were to stop beating and the doors were to close without a buyer.

That’s why the bankruptcy was so important in the short-term.

Regardless of what ultimately happens to the hospital, having a few more moments of life to figure out what needs to happen next is important.

And we’re thankful Haley “MacGyver” Barbour knows how to use the pen.