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UMMC terminates membership with...

UMMC terminates membership with Mississippi Hospital Association

By: Sarah Ulmer ,    Frank Corder ,    Russ Latino - April 28, 2023

University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

UMMC’s departure from the Mississippi Hospital Association comes after MHA’s PAC, Friends of Mississippi Hospitals, approved a $250,000 donation to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) sent a letter to the Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA) on Friday, April 28, that they would be terminating their membership in the organization. Magnolia Tribune obtained the letter through a public records request.

The letter from UMMC to MHA was signed by Vice Chancellor LouAnne Woodward and Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs Alan Jones. UMMC did not comment further on the matter.

The UMMC letter cites a lack of confidence within the current MHA leadership, raising issue with the organization’s vision and communication:

Please be advised that we hereby terminate the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s membership in the Mississippi Hospital Association, effective immediately. We thoughtfully take this action due to recurring behavior including insufficient transparency around decision making, a misaligned strategic vision and lack of effective communication. While we see value in MHA as an organization, we have lost confidence in the current leadership.

When asked for comment on the development from MHA President and CEO Tim Moore, he told the Magnolia Tribune on Friday that the organization is meeting soon to address concerns.

“We’ve got a meeting coming up to discuss some questions that have been posed. I don’t know of but one hospital that has voiced their resignation from the association,” Moore said. “Until I know more about what’s going on, there’s really not a whole lot I can say.”

Tim Moore, President of the Mississippi Hospital Association
Tim Moore, President of the Mississippi Hospital Association

Moore also confirmed to Magnolia Tribune that the political action committee (PAC) of MHA, Friends of Mississippi Hospitals PAC, made a donation to the Brandon Presley campaign in the amount of $250,000. Presley is running as a Democratic candidate for Governor in the 2023 Mississippi state elections.

A $250,000 donation is the largest on record for Friends of Mississippi Hospitals PAC. Moore also confirmed that the PAC had approved a $100,000 gift to Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, although he said a check had not yet been cut.

UMMC did not comment as to whether or not the donation impacted their decision to terminate membership.

“The Friends of Mississippi Hospitals PAC has supported candidates that support hospitals, and to our knowledge, Commissioner Presley is the only candidate for that office that has supported hospitals,” said Moore.

During the 2023 session, the Legislature approved, and Governor Reeves signed into law, $103 million in direct aid to hospitals.

RELATED: Legislature Passes $103 Million in Grants for Mississippi’s Hospitals

When asked if the donation had to do with the prospect of Medicaid expansion, a concept Presley supports, Moore said, “It is certainly a part of that but it goes much deeper.”

Magnolia Tribune also asked Moore if the PAC would consider a donation to Governor Tate Reeves, who has opposed the idea of Medicaid expansion. Moore said he was not aware of any plan to do so at this time.

The MHA is a statewide organization that provides healthcare representation for hospitals, wellness and healthcare networks, according to their website. MHA reports that they are comprised of over 100 hospitals, healthcare systems, providers and networks that serve over 50,000 employees.

With the departure of UMMC, and the potential of more hospitals to follow, those numbers will decline.

Past Political Activity of MHA

While a $250,000 contribution is the largest on record for MHA’s PAC, the association has consistently been involved political advocacy. When Moore announced support of a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in 2021, he noted that MHA had spent eight legislative sessions trying to get the Legislature to act in favor of expansion.

The ballot initiative plans ultimately fell through when the Mississippi Supreme Court invalidated the process to propose constitutional amendments.

MHA has considerable resources at its disposal. The organization’s latest available tax filing from 2020 showed $27.4 million in assets, including over $3 million in cash and $13.3 million in securities. 

That same year, MHA reported $11.3 million in revenue. While it issued $3.1 million in grants to hospitals, the association’s largest category of expense was for salaries and compensation at $4.1 million. Four MHA employees cleared more than $300,000 in compensation and benefits, with President and CEO Tim Moore’s package coming in near $766,000. 

Friends of Mississippi Hospitals PAC Activity in 2019

MHA’s PAC was active in the 2019 election cycle, as well. It made $301,221.50 in contributions and expenditures and closed the cycle with more than $267,000 in remaining cash-on-hand.

Most of the PAC’s gifts in 2019 occurred in relatively small dollar increments, $500-$1000, to primarily support incumbent legislators. The Mississippi Legislature has 174 total members between the House and Senate, with Republicans holding super-majorities in both chambers. MHA gave 83 Republican and 53 Democrat members money in 2019. They also supported 12 losing candidates. 

The four largest gifts in 2019 went to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood ($50,000), Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller ($50,000), Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster ($15,000), and the Mississippi Democratic Trust ($12,000). One reported contribution to Foster occurred after he had already been eliminated from the Republican primary, but before a runoff that pitted Reeves against Waller. Foster ultimately endorsed Waller in that runoff.

While it appears that MHA’s PAC will make a substantial gift to Lt. Gov. Hosemann this year, he was aBrent from the PAC’s 2019 recipient list.

The Friends of Mississippi Hospitals PAC also contributed to the American Hospital Association PAC. AHAPAC focuses on congressional candidates. In the 2020 cycle, 68 percent of AHAPAC’s giving concentrated on Democrats.

This is a developing story. Sources within other hospitals have indicated they are aware of the UMMC letter. Those same sources have said that other hospitals are also considering terminating membership with MHA, which could come as early as next week.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah:
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank:
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Russ Latino

Russ is a proud Mississippian and the founder of Magnolia Tribune Institute. His research and writing have been published across the country in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review, USA Today, The Hill, and The Washington Examiner, among other prominent publications. Russ has served as a national spokesman with outlets like Politico and Bloomberg. He has frequently been called on by both the media and decisionmakers to provide public policy analysis and testimony. In founding Magnolia Tribune Institute, he seeks to build on more than a decade of organizational leadership and communications experience to ensure Mississippians have access to news they can trust and opinion that makes them think deeply. Prior to beginning his non-profit career, Russ practiced business and constitutional law for a decade. Email Russ: