Public deserves NRMC details

Published 12:02 am Friday, November 30, 2012

The Natchez Regional Medical Center board of trustees wants you to think of the hospital they manage as your own.

They want it to be your first choice for health care, your first call in time of emergency and the community partner that you love and appreciate.

And they’re right. You should think of NRMC in all those ways, because, after all, it is yours. The county-owned hospital belongs to the taxpayers, and that would be crystal clear if the business defaulted on its debt.

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Taxes would go up, and the county would have to foot the bill for a multi-million facility.

So, it’s yours, but don’t ask too many questions, especially if your questions center on the amount of money the hospital received this week through the settlement of a lawsuit.

That information is confidential.

Why? We don’t know. The hospital has long argued that divulging financial details in a competitive market — there’s another hospital just down the road — would be harmful to the business.

But how could it hurt for your competition to know you’ve suddenly come into a great sum of money? It seems like the intimidation factor might actually improve the competitive edge a bit.

The details of the settlement closing a rollercoaster case that took the hospital’s employees, patients and community on a wild ride for the greater part of a decade should be shared with the elected leaders who represent the public and with the public as a whole.

If trustees want the public to feel a connection and provide support, the hospital’s doors must open both ways.