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Forrest General joins 4 other hospitals...

Forrest General joins 4 other hospitals in exiting Mississippi Hospital Association

By: Sarah Ulmer - May 9, 2023

(Photo from Forrest General's Facebook page - January 2022)

As of Monday, MHA has now lost 4 of the Top 10 largest hospitals in the state and more could still follow.

On Monday, Forrest General Hospital headquartered in Hattiesburg joined four other hospitals in leaving the Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA) over a loss of confidence in the organization’s leadership strategy.

Forrest General’s letter to MHA termination signed by its President and CEO R. Andy Woodard was made available to the Magnolia Tribune. Woodard states:

I wish to formally notify the Mississippi Hospital Association (“MHA”) of Forrest General Hospital’s (“FGH”) termination of MHA membership. In light of recent events, and after careful thought and consideration, this termination shall be effective immediately. Please advise us of any further requirements to effectuate said termination in order to avoid undue harm to either party.

Forrest General is part of Forrest Health whose hospitals also include Highland Community Hospital in Picayune, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital and Extended Care Facility in Prentiss, Marion General Hospital in Columbia, Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home in Poplarville, Perry County General Hospital in Richton, and Walthall General Hospital in Tylertown.

With Forrest General’s exit, MHA has now lost four of the state’s Top 10 largest hospitals in the state, with the prospect that more could follow suit.

Forrest Health’s care extends out from Hattiesburg (Photo from Forrest General’s website)

As first reported by Magnolia Tribune, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) notified MHA it was terminating its membership. The hospital giant cited “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,” UMMC Vice Chancellor LouAnne Woodward and Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs Alan Jones wrote to MHA’s President and CEO Tim Moore.

READ MORE: UMMC terminates membership with Mississippi Hospital Association

Within days, three hospital systems followed UMMC in leaving MHA. Those hospitals are: George Regional Health System, Memorial Hospital, and Singing River Health System. Each stated, in their own way, that MHA’s current leadership strategy was no longer able to effectively and productively represent their interests.

READ MORE: Three more hospitals leave Mississippi Hospital Association, following UMMC

The exodus from the MHA comes after MHA’s political action committee, Friends of Mississippi Hospitals, chose to donate $250,000 to Democratic gubernatorial challenger Brandon Presley and $100,000 to Republican incumbent Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. Presley has expressed a willingness to expand Medicaid. According to MHA’s President, that stance, at least in part, impacted the large donation.

The hospitals have all declined to comment beyond what was written in the letters. None have confirmed whether the decision to make donations to political candidates led to the termination of their membership in MHA.

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: