Riverland Medical Center decision delayed again

Published 12:02 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

By Cain Madden

The Natchez Democrat

FERRIDAY — A final recommendation on the future location of Riverland Medical Center will wait at least two more weeks as hospital leaders study their options.

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The Riverland Medical Center board of directors delayed its decision about the hospital’s future to give two new committees a chance to research additional materials, hospital administrator Billy Rucker said. The vote followed a final presentation from Verne Kennedy with Market Research Insight. However, following the executive session presentation, Rucker said the board had more questions that brought about the decision to create two committees.

Rucker said he hoped to have a decision to the Concordia Parish Police Jury within the next two weeks.

The board is reportedly mulling three options in Ferriday to locate the facility — the current site on E.E. Wallace Boulevard; off of U.S. 84 between Vidalia and Ferriday to give the hospital more visibility; and the west side of town to attract more business from Jonesville.

However, Rucker has said previously that the board has not made a final decision and an alternative recommendation could be made.

The medical center began this process back in 2014 with LaPorte Group.

The board then hired the consulting firm Stroudwater and Associates of Metairie, which gave its final report in September.

Elde Bailey was hired to write an opinion about the proposal if Stroudwater came back with a recommendation that the hospital rebuild or renovate.

Following that report, Market Research Insight was hired following that to present a scientific approach to the question about the future of the 50-year-old hospital, which was the most recent feasibility study.

Board chair Jim Graves could not be reached for comment.

Financial statements were also reviewed during the meeting, and for January the hospital reported a $149,000 loss. Rucker said the reason behind this included insurance reimbursements arriving late and pharmaceutical bills that were supposed to come in December but didn’t until January.

Rucker said the loss is not a concern.

“It’s just routine accounting,” he said.