The Leflore County Board of Supervisors, almost two weeks after rejecting Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s request to draw $1 million from its $10 million line of credit, approved giving the hospital $3 million on Monday night.
The vote was unanimous, according to The Greenwood Commonwealth.
The money should be enough to keep the hospital, which has long financially struggled, open until next year, by which time it expects to hear a decision on its application to become a critical access hospital. The federal designation would allow the hospital to be reimbursed at a higher rate from Medicare.
Interim CEO Gary Marchand said the $10 million line of credit was established earlier this year in order to pay one of the hospital’s two monthly payrolls until it hears a final decision about its application. It costs about $2 million to pay the hospital’s nearly 600 employees every month.
The hospital is currently losing about $1 million a month, Marchand said.
The board approved the hospital’s first two requests earlier this year, which totaled $4.3 million, but denied its request on Sept. 13. Their decision came after the hospital’s application to become a critical access hospital was denied by the regional Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services office in Atlanta, citing the hospital’s proximity to other hospitals.
The hospital has long hinged its survival on achieving critical access designation. Critical access hospitals must be located at least 35 miles from another hospital — Greenwood’s nearest is just 28 miles away in Indianola.
However, Marchand maintains that decision was expected, and that the hospital still expects approval on the federal level.
After the board’s last vote, hospital leadership said it was unclear how they were going to make payroll. Marchand, in a recent interview with Mississippi Today, walked the comment back and said the hospital would prioritize paying its employees, even if it meant forgoing other needs.
According to the newspaper’s report, board president Reginald Moore, who voted to deny the hospital’s previous request, changed his vote to ensure the hospital’s employees were paid.
Moore previously told Mississippi Today he’d like to see a more comprehensive plan that ensures the hospital’s survival, regardless of its critical access status.
“We’re up against the clock right now,” he said. “Come January 2024, if we’re turned down again, then what’s the alternative?”