Negotiations break down between Mississippi medical facilities

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GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — A financially troubled Mississippi hospital announced Friday that negotiations with a medical campus planning to take over the hospital have collapsed.

Just hours after revealing plans to lay off up to 80 employees, Greenwood Leflore Hospital said the University of Mississippi Medical Center was no longer interested in entering into a deal to take over the hospital. Failure of the talks increases the risk of hospital closure and threatens to reduce access to healthcare in the impoverished Delta region of the state.

The hospital had been scrambling to cut costs in an effort to accommodate UMMC, a medical center in Mississippi’s capital, Jackson.

“While we can certainly understand and appreciate the challenge of providing health services in the post-pandemic era, this decision was not expected based on the progress that had been made on a rental transaction,” reads- on in a statement released by a spokesperson for the hospital. “The financial realities of providing healthcare services impact both organizations.”

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Local officials attempted to reignite negotiations last week when Greenwood and Leflore County agreed to split an estimated $9 million from UMMC requested to cover the hospital’s deferred maintenance and its ongoing loan from the federal Medicare program. But the hospital did not have the money to cover those obligations, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported.

The hospital had tried to ease financial pressures by closing various units, including its labor and delivery unit. This decision limited access to maternal care for women in surrounding areas. But last-ditch efforts to salvage the case did not satisfy UMMC.

“Despite the best efforts of all parties involved, it has become clear to us that an agreement between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Greenwood Leflore Hospital will not be possible,” said Dr. Alan Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs at UMMC. . “We have determined that an agreement is not possible due to several factors, the most significant being the current health care economic realities that all health systems face in this challenging environment.”

In September, UMMC entered into a transaction with Greenwood Leflore to take over two outpatient clinics previously operated by the hospital. The hospital said in its statement that it would assess options for continued services.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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