Jackson County has appointed US financial planning consultancy Raymond James to investigate its ailing county-owned Singing River Health System and turn it into a sound, operational hospital system.
When Jackson Country’s Ocean Springs Health System changed in leadership in March, with Kevin Holland taking over as CEO, it was disclosed that the hospital system was carrying $88 million in uncollectable patient debt, hidden in its operating income. The effect of the "adjustment" from the audit, substantially changed the financial health of the hospital. Debt was not the only irregularity uncovered, with Holland revealing that the hospital could no longer afford to honour the employee pension plan, furthermore, it has failed to make contributions into the plan since 2009. In response Jackson County came with a proposal to return retirement plan contributions made by employees with interest, a move that angered hundreds of employees who believed they were well situated for their retirement.
Since these disclosures the Jackson County Board has voted to bring in independent oversight and auditing to the Health System’s finances, with consulting firm Raymond James being called in to lead the operation. Representatives of Jackson County met with representatives from Raymond James to discuss ways forward for the troubled health concern. The idea, Board President Troy Ross said, is to keep the county hospital system solvent moving forward. "We have to make sure we have options to move in a direction where the hospitals will be definitely solvent," Ross said. "Just saying we think we're solvent or we might be solvent isn't a good enough answer."
The Board of Supervisors expects Raymond James to develop 3-4 potential solutions toward setting up a "sound and operational hospital system." in six to ten weeks.