NRMC financial records in limbo? Officials give different responses on locations of files

Published 12:13 am Friday, October 24, 2014

NATCHEZ — Who owns the pre-sale business and financial records of Natchez Regional Medical Center? That depends who you ask.

Adams County Board of Supervisors board attorney Scott Slover said the records are still the responsibility of the former hospital board of trustees.

Even though the hospital has been sold to Community Health Systems, the former NRMC board still exists until the bankruptcy proceeding that preceded the sale is completed. The board can dissolve only after its legal business is concluded even though it no longer has an operating interest in the hospital.

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“Since the trustees still exist, those records still belong to the trustees and are still covered by the Hospital Act,” Slover said.

“Once the board ceases to exist, the county would probably be required to upkeep those records. There are a number of things we are required to keep for 75 years, and I imagine those records would fall under that requirement.”

But the Rev. LeRoy White, the chairman of the board, said the records were included in the purchase agreement for the hospital and belong wholly to CHS.

“The financial records still need to be there,” he said. “We didn’t see them anywhere. Everything stayed with the facility itself. We didn’t move anything.”

White said even if the board had taken possession of the records, the trustees don’t own a building in which to store them.

An NRMC spokesperson deferred a response to CHS corporate late Thursday evening.

Slover said CHS has a copy of the records, but the records also ultimately belong to the county.

“If we needed them, we could access them,” he said.

While many of the hospital’s records were cloaked even from the county board that actually owned NRMC under the Hospital Act, Slover said many of those exclusions will no longer apply.

NRMC officially entered CHS’ ownership Oct. 1.

Prior to the sale, the 54-year-old county-owned hospital went bankrupt twice in a five-year period.

Since the purchase, CHS — which is also the parent company of Natchez Community Hospital — has announced its intention to combine Natchez Regoinal and Natchez Community hospitals into a single facility.