The Greenwood Leflore Hospital Board has released a statement saying that “discussions are underway with the University of Mississippi Medical Center concerning an agreement on the joint operation of GLH facilities and services.”
It’s far from a done deal, but officials are keeping their fingers crossed because GLH’s ongoing revenue shortfalls are so serious that it might have to discontinue operations around the end of this year.
The GLH board met in closed session with the Leflore County Board of Supervisors and the Greenwood City Council Thursday to share information with their members about the possible affiliation. The hospital board then issued the statement about the discussions.
The statement said affiliations can improve service in addition to addressing financial concerns.
“Potential areas for enhanced service delivery include chronic care management, remote patient monitoring, telehealth-based care and advanced/specialty care,” the statement said. “For inpatient acute care services, additional resources can enhance the quality and availability of care.”
Jason Studley, the hospital’s CEO, also sent a memo to hospital employees that said, “Please note that no agreement has been reached at this point. These are initial discussions between GLH and UMMC regarding the possible affiliation to continue to provide medical and surgical services to Greenwood and the surrounding areas. Many details are yet to be considered before an agreement can be reached.”
In the memo, Studley said that if there is an agreement, “the timing of any transition of operations is not expected until later this calendar year.”
Both hospitals are publicly owned. Approval of affiliation would be required from the hospital board, the City Council, the Board of Supervisors and the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
UMMC officials declined to comment, as did Harris Powers Jr., chairman of the hospital board. Powers directed inquiries to Studley, who decided not to answer written questions but furnished the memo.
Written information was not provided about what type of affiliation is being considered. City Council President Ronnie Stevenson, who attended the meeting, said a lease is on the table at the moment — but that could change.
Stevenson said he is pleased with the idea of affiliating with UMMC. “I did like what I heard. I am enthusiastic about what I heard. To know that the University of Mississippi Medical Center is interested is a positive sign for our hospital. To me, it is critical that we move expediently on this deal.”
In 2012, the community considered selling GLH or affiliating with another hospital, but the City Council voted against moving forward with the proposition. In 2018, the hospital board did not act on an affiliation offer from UMMC, so the offer was withdrawn.
“Now, we can’t dredge up on the past,” Stevenson said. “This hospital is very important to this community, and now, we have a chance to get it right.”
“It looks better now than it has been looking in a long time,” he said. About UMMC, he said, “I believe they are serious. I believe this deal is going to get done before this year gets over.”
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