Oktibbeha County received proposals from nine different firms to assess OCH Regional Medical Center’s financial health and future viability, but little information about each proposal is known after the submissions were neither presented nor discussed during Monday’s board of supervisors meeting.
Those firms include BKD CPAs and Advisors, Healthcare Management Partners, Horne CPAs and Business Advisors, Pershing Yoakley and Associates, Pitt Management and Associates, Raymond James, Stroudwater, V2V Management Solutions and Whitecap Health Advisors, a document released by County Administrator Emily Garrard reads.
The Dispatch requested information on each of the submissions, but packets were not brought to Monday’s meeting.
Supervisors also said they had not yet had the chance to review the proposals.
Health care consultant Frederick Woodrell said he and OCH Chief Executive Officer Richard Hilton will both analyze each submission and work together to narrow the field of contenders.
Woodrell, who also said he hasn’t reviewed each of the large documents, estimated their costs could range from $30,000-$100,000. A hospital analysis, he said, could take about 10 weeks to complete.
A presentation on the top two or three options could be scheduled for supervisors’ next meeting on Aug. 1.
“We’re going to go through the process of evaluating each proposal to make sure the candidates meet our expectations, then we’ll try to follow up on any questions we might have with the individual groups,” he said. “(Aug. 1) is the goal, but it’s not definite since there are a lot of moving parts. Ultimately, picking the group and moving forward is up to the board of supervisors.”
Last month, supervisors voted 3-2 to request proposals for the hospital analysis — the first step mandated by state law before a governing body can move forward with a sale or lease of a publicly owned health care facility — after previously hiring Woodrell to assist with the process.
Mississippi Code requires a study to conduct certain minimum reviews, including the community’s in-patient facility needs, the area market’s needs for services, hospital strengths relative to competition and options for its service mixture and pricing options.
Two other deliverables were added to the study at Woodrell’s recommendation: a quality care comparison with the hospital’s performance with state, regional and national benchmarks and recommendations of possible actions — whether to keep, sell or lease the facility — moving forward.
Public forums and discussions on the analysis and its recommendations are expected to follow.
Discussions on OCH’s future emerged again this year when District 2 Supervisor and Board President Orlando Trainer renewed a push to study the health care facility and its long-term viability.
OCH trustees balked at Trainer’s call for a study this spring before the two boards sat down to discuss the issue.
Once supervisors and hospital trustees met in May, OCH representatives questioned Trainer’s motives, vouched for the hospital’s financial viability and said Trainer’s continued meddling affects recruitment and retention efforts.
Hilton previously said he was not afraid to open the hospital’s financials up for outside review to help settle the issue for good.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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