The negotiation process between Greenwood Leflore Hospital and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) has officially ended, just hours after the hospital announced the layoffs of dozens of employees.
On Friday afternoon, UMMC officials stated that an agreement could not be reached with Greenwood Leflore before the hospital’s expected closure at the end of the calendar year.
According to a statement from the hospital, the decision was made due to financial challenges relating to the healthcare service industry.
“Although we certainly can understand and appreciate the challenge of providing healthcare services in the post-pandemic era, this decision was not expected based on the progress that had been made regarding a lease transaction,” the statement said. “The financial realities of providing healthcare services are impacting both organizations.”
For months, UMMC and Greenwood Leflore Hospital have discussed a possible agreement to lease out the hospital’s facilities, with UMMC stalling negotiations last month due to Greenwood’s massive debts to Medicare and maintenance costs.
Last week, Leflore County and the city of Greenwood attempted to resume talks with UMMC by agreeing to allocate $9 million to cover the hospital’s fees. UMMC and officials from the county were expected to discuss the possibility of leasing the hospital once again this week.
Now, UMMC has released that the negotiation process with Greenwood Leflore will not proceed, furthering the threat of the hospital’s permanent closure.
Hours before UMMC’s statement to Greenwood Leflore, additional layoffs were announced at the hospital in an effort to stay open through the calendar year, with Interim CEO Gary Marchand stating that up to 80 employees may be fired in a memo Friday morning.
In the memo, Marchand explained that 55 full-time and 25 part-time employees will be laid off to keep the current services available for as long as possible.
“Today we are announcing a further reduction in our staffing so that all remaining services can be adequately and consistently matched to current patient volumes,” Marchand said. “While unfortunate, we believe this will allow the best option for current services to continue into early next year.”
In September, 20 full-time and 20 part-time employees at Greenwood Leflore Hospital were also laid off, adding to 30 employees that had already been forced to leave the hospital in May.
The memo also stated that the hospital has chosen to keep certain services for the time being, including emergency, surgical, inpatient, outpatient diagnostic services, and outpatient treatments including cancer and wound care.