By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY – Tippah County Supervisors have hired a firm to conduct a study to decide whether the sale or lease of the Tippah County Hospital would be in the best interests of the county, supervisors said this week.
Hospital employees were informed of the action Friday via a memorandum from the Board of Supervisors. One employee indicated some workers there were upset about the decision, but none were willing to speak on the record Friday afternoon.
The memorandum indicated the hospital has struggled in recent years, and many local citizens are going elsewhere to seek health care.
“Despite these challenges, current management of the hospital under the Board of Trustees has done a remarkable job to keep the operation profitable,” according to the memo. It adds: “The Trustees and Board of Supervisors believe that the hospital could provide more services, construct new facilities and be more successful if it joined a larger health care organization.
“The supervisors have not made any decision to sell or lease the hospital nor has any health care organization agreed to lease or purchase the hospital.
“Supervisors will be transparent in the process and will provide the public with information throughout the process and before any decision is made regarding the future of the hospital. They are concerned with keeping the existing services the hospital provides, protecting the existing employees and ensuring that more services will be provided to our citizens,” according to the memo.
“The Tippah County Hospital is a vital part of the Tippah County community,” Supervisors Board President Eddie Stroupe said, “and the supervisors are committed to its success.”
Supervisors noted that the Tippah County Hospital, like many rural, independent hospitals, has struggled financially in recent years. Competition from larger hospital organizations in neighboring cities has made it difficult to recruit doctors and provide a broader range of inpatient and outpatient services.
The board noted that since many local citizens are comfortable going to Corinth, Tupelo or even Memphis to receive health care, partnering with a larger health care organization may be in the best interest of the hospital.