By John Mott Coffey, with News Mississippi affiliate WQNZ
NATCHEZ, Miss.–The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted Monday voted to borrow $3 million to pay expenses incurred since Natchez Regional Medical Center filed for bankruptcy in March.
These costs must be paid so the hospital’s sale to Community Health Systems can be finalized as it goes before a bankruptcy judge for approval, said board attorney Scott Slover.
The $3 million will be used to pay attorneys, consultants and the county-owned hospital’s day-to-day expenses, he said.
Supervisors also said Monday they’re committed to helping NRMC employees who face being shortchanged of pension funds owed to them from working at the hospital. Retirement money is among the funds the hospital owes as it seeks debt relief in bankruptcy court.
Slover said supervisors are going “to fight as best we can for the best outcome for those people…. We have to get the best deal in a bad situation.”
Among the unsecured creditors in NRMC’s bankruptcy proceedings is the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System, which administers hospital workers’ pension plan. The hospital’s PERS debt totaled about $448,000 in March, when NRMC filed for bankruptcy.
CHS is paying Adams County $10 million to buy the hospital and $8 million in prepaid taxes. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Neil Olack will hold a hearing Sept. 29 to review the sale.