Coming off being denied critical hospital access status, Greenwood Leflore Hospital (GLH) has been denied once again – this time from drawing $1 million in payroll costs from their $10 million line of credit.
During a meeting on Wednesday, the Leflore County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against giving the struggling Delta hospital the money as some supervisors pointed to what they consider a lack of planning from GLH officials.
“They don’t have no other plan,” Supervisor Robert Collins asserted. “They are not willing to sit down and discuss another plan. We invited everybody to a meeting, but only [one person] showed up.”
While Collins is correct that a recent hospital summit in which supervisors invited city and GLH officials to went mostly unattended, leaders have consistently told SuperTalk Mississippi News that there is another plan and that is for the hospital to be leased out.
“The county and city decided that since we don’t want all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak, we did reach out and do a [request for proposal], and that has gone out,” Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams said. “So, hopefully, someone might reach out. I don’t know.”
As of now, officials in Greenwood have not confirmed if there are any potential suitors to lease out GLH this time around. However, one of the dissenting supervisors contends that the county has put too many resources into the hospital to give up now.
“We done rolled the dice. We already got $8 million in this, and y’all want to shut it down in the middle of all this,” Supervisor Sam Abraham said. “Y’all want to shut it down now, and I don’t think that is a viable answer to our problem.”
Up until this point, GLH has been at the forefront of Mississippi’s ongoing healthcare crisis and has taken the necessary steps to remain open as long as possible. Those steps have included laying off hundreds of employees, nixing various services, and applying for both grants and a new line of credit.
GLH was also recently denied by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in its attempt to attain critical hospital access status, which would have opened the hospital up to more federal dollars.
CEO Gary Marchand, who has helped the hospital garner millions in government money while opening the $10 million line of credit, believes that there is no other funding available without a change of heart from CMS.
“We are not aware of any other funding sources that would allow for the hospital to continue in operation,” Marchand said prior to the initial decision by CMS. “The cost protection afforded by critical access status is key to our ability to remain in operation over the short and long term.”
A majority of supervisors, on the other hand, believe Marchand has been a thorn in the hospital’s side when it comes to staying open. Marchand, who came to GLH on an interim basis in 2019 after abruptly stepping down from the CEO position at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, has been blamed by some for the hospital’s downfall.
“He doesn’t have a vested interest here. He doesn’t care what happens to the hospital as long as he gets his paycheck,” Supervisor Reginald Moore snapped during last week’s meeting.
Currently, GLH has enough money to pay employees until the end of the month as Marchand mulls taking the Leflore County Board of Supervisors to court over their refusal to let the hospital borrow more money.
If nothing changes in the coming months, Greenwood Leflore will shut down in early 2024 or even sooner.
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