NRMC problems still need a resolution

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 19, 2015

Approaching the one-year anniversary of the sale of Natchez Regional Medical Center, the financial debacle remains.

As the new owners of the hospital continue work to make the facility revitalized, the old entity remains a mess. To date:

-Unsecured creditors are still on the hook for money they may never see;

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-County taxpayers are still responsible for a loan the county took out to provide enough capital to allow the hospital to be sold;

-Former hospital employees still do not have credit for months of service in the state retirement plan, caused by the hospital simply not paying the employer portion of those funds.

Last week the public learned from the trustee representing the unsecured creditors committee that a lawsuit may soon be filed against the former hospital board members — and likely their bonding agents — for what may be considered negligence of fiduciary duty.

Allegedly, Natchez Regional forfeited piles of cash by simply not bothering to appeal the initial claim from the Recovery Audit Contractors program.

Hospital experts suggest such appeals are practically standard operating procedures, yet NRMC’s financial leadership apparently allowed the window for appeals to die while the files sat on someone’s desk.

Clearly the case could be made that such behavior was one of a few dozen nails in the proverbial coffin of the hospital.

We hope the unsecured creditors trustee pulls out all stops in trying to get everyone who was harmed by the hospital’s bankruptcy paid.

In a similar vein, we hope county supervisors will continue to work to repay the retirement payments the hospital missed as well. Unsecured creditors and former hospital employees should be the No. 1 and No. 2 priorities now.