By John Mott Coffey, with News Mississippi affiliate WQNZ
NATCHEZ, Miss.–Natchez Regional Medical Center will no longer be owned by Adams County this week if all goes as planned, but county officials who decided to sell it remain uncertain what will be done at the hospital when it falls into private hands.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in that respect. I’m hoping that we will,” said county board President Darryl Grennell
After more than a year of trying to find a buyer – a process complicated when NRMC went bust early this year – a federal bankruptcy judge on Monday could approve the sale of the county-owned hospital to Community Health Systems.
If that happens, CHS will formally own NRMC as well as Natchez Community Hospital, which the Tennessee-based corporation bought in January.
The Adams County Board of Supervisors is selling NRMC with hopes the giant hospital chain will use its vast financial resources to upgrade the 54-year-old facility and eventually build a new one.
Grennell said he looks forward to signing the document turning over NRMC to CHSon Tuesday.
“I think it’s going to be a great day. What I hope will come out of it is a new hospital,” Grennell said.
However, Grennell said CHS has not specified to county supervisors what its plans are when it takes over NRMC and NCH.
Grennell and other supervisors said Friday that they’ve been frustrated by the process for selling the hospital, which has been mostly handled by the NRMC Board of Trustees and well-paid sales consultants and attorneys.
“It’s been difficult for us to follow this whole thing,” Grennell said.
“It’s been really stressful. From week to week, things have changed. We’re told one thing one week and then a couple of days later those things (change). So it’s been a complicated, convoluted issue.”
The supervisors spoke at Friday Forum, a gathering sponsored by the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce and Alcorn State University.