Public, officials should be part of hospital loop

Published 12:06 am Friday, February 7, 2014

Insanity, it has been said, is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results.

For the second time in five years, county-owned Natchez Regional Medical Center is on the precipice of financial disaster — apparently unable to pay its bills and planning to seek protection from a federal bankruptcy court.

If the situation seems familiar for taxpayers, it’s understandable. Our community covered the same ground just a few years ago and, as insane as it may seem, we’re back again.

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In 2009, the bankruptcy was deemed a necessary step in the ongoing sales process.

Today, another failed — at least at the moment — sales process has been attempted over the last several months. Apparently, the entire time the hospital’s leadership was attempting to sell the facility, the hospital was burning through cash and struggling to pay its own bills. Clearly, the cash and credit finally ran out.

At what point were members of the hospital’s board of trustees or its administrative team going to tell the public the true financial status?

Apparently, even county supervisors — the elected representatives of the public — were not provided with up-to-date financials.

The hospital’s plan seems to have been to keep their atrocious finances a secret from the people who actually own the facility — Adams County residents — until hospital leaders had no other option and were forced into bankruptcy.

Even now, the hospital’s attorney — the spokesman for practically everyone on the leadership team — informed supervisors effectively, “We’re too busy with the bankruptcy filing to give you any additional information.”

Clearly, keeping the public informed isn’t a priority. That the public — and our elected officials — continue to put up with such is, well, insane.