A handful of major hospitals say they’re ending their membership with the Mississippi Hospital Association, long an influential player in the policy and political spaces in the state.
Mere days after the University of Mississippi Medical Center announced that it’s leaving the MHA, Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Singing River Health System on the coast and George Regional Health System in Lucedale have all terminated their relationship as well, citing concerns with the hospital association’s leadership. None cited specific reasons for their concerns.
MHA President Tim Moore could not be reached by press time. He’s led the organization for almost 10 years.
As first reported by Magnolia Tribune, UMMC sent a letter to the MHA on April 28, ending its relationship and citing concerns with current MHA leadership. The letter was signed by Vice Chancellor LouAnn Woodward and Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs Alan Jones. UMMC is the state’s largest public hospital.
A spokesperson for UMMC replied they had “no comment” to questions emailed by Mississippi Today about the decision.
Memorial Hospital sent a similar letter, signed by its CEO Kent Nicaud, to the MHA on May 1.
“After much thought and deliberation, and as I mentioned at our Executive Meeting on April 21, 2023, I have significant concerns regarding the strategy, vision, and behavior of MHA leadership,” Nicaud writes. “While I sincerely believe in an effective, united, and strong association, I do not feel that is the case at this time.
“Based upon recent actions, I have lost confidence in the association and fear that in the near future, MHA’s current leadership and vision will detract from the strength and vision to which we have all contributed over the past several years.”
Singing River terminated its relationship with the MHA on May 1 through a letter signed by CEO Tiffany Murdock and Board President Erich Nicols. The letter lists concerns about “strategy, communication and leadership.”
“While the MHA can play an important role in supporting hospitals across the state, we have lost confidence in its ability to do so under the current leadership,” it reads.
A letter dated May 1 and obtained by Magnolia Tribune shows George Regional Health System leadership, too, shared doubts about the MHA’s “leadership strategy.” A hospital spokesperson could not be reached for comment by Mississippi Today by the time of publication.
The MHA represents the interests of Mississippi’s hospitals. The association advocates for policy change on both the state and federal level, and its website says the MHA comprises “over 100 hospitals, health care systems, networks, care-providers and a pool of over 50,000 employees.” It has lobbied for Medicaid expansion
It’s not clear how many hospitals could follow suit in the coming days.