By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Moving forward with health care in Choctaw County, the Board of Supervisors met with the Horne Group to discuss what the county’s next step should be in finding another provider.
The Horne Group is a health care accounting and business advisory firm based out of Jackson. David Williams, with the Horne Group, was at the February 3 board meeting to discuss a possible contact between them and the county.
Williams presented the board with two contracts, one to perform the required 41-13 study and the second was an RFP consulting contract.
He said the 41-13-15 study, or the Miss. Code 41-13-15-8, is the first step in finding another provider to lease the hospital.
Miss. Code 41-13-15-8 states, “(8) Whenever any owner decides that it may be in its best interests to sell or lease a community hospital as provided for under subsection (7) of this section, the owner shall first contract with a certified public accounting firm, a law firm or competent professional health care or management consultants to review the current operating condition of the community hospital. The review shall consist of, at minimum, the following:
(a) A review of the community’s inpatient facility needs based on current workload, historical trends and projections, based on demographic data, of future needs.
(b) A review of the competitive market for services, including other hospitals which serve the same area, the services provided and the market perception of the competitive hospitals.
(c) A review of the hospital’s strengths relative to the competition and its capacity to compete in light of projected trends and competition.
(d) An analysis of the hospital’s options, including service mix and pricing strategies. If the study concludes that a sale or lease should occur, the study shall include an analysis of which option would be best for the community and how much revenues should be derived from the lease or sale.”
Williams said it would take his firm approximately 45 days to complete this study.
In a later discussion, the board said it would cost $25,000 plus expenses (approximately $3,000) to perform the study.
During the discussion on the 41-13-15 study, Steve Wright, county board attorney, asked Williams if the county was required to do the study since they already have a lease in place.
“We have a lease in place, do we need the 41-13 to find someone to pick up the lease,” asked Wright.
Miller said he would need to check with their in-house counsel to see if the county needs the study or if they could continue on to receiving RFPs.
District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers asked Williams if the Horne Group has performed work for Pioneer Health Services. Miller said “none that I’m aware of” and said he would do a check to make sure their would not be a conflict of interest.
After Williams left the meeting, the supervisors discussed the possible contract with the firm. Chambers asked the board if more than one firm was going to present a proposal to the board for the same contracts.
“They are the best in the state. 41-15 is regulatory. We’re not looking for personality. CPAs fill out forms and time is of the essence,” said Chris McIntire, board president.
Chambers said he “strongly suggests looking at more than one firm.”
District 1 Supervisors Archie Collins agreed that the county should hear proposals from at least one more firm by the next meeting.
No action was taken on the contract with the Horne Group at this time.