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More hospitals drop out of the...

More hospitals drop out of the Mississippi Hospital Association

By: Sarah Ulmer - May 21, 2023
North Mississippi Medical Center

North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo

Multiple sources indicate that North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo as well as hospitals managed by Merit Health and Ochsner Health System have notified MHA of their decision to terminate membership.

On Thursday, North Mississippi Health Services communicated its intent to withdraw at least four of the hospitals in its system from the Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA), according to multiple sources close to the situation.

The termination of membership includes North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC). NMMC is one of three Level II trauma centers in Mississippi. It is the only one in the northern part of the state.

On the heels of the NMMC decision, Magnolia Tribune learned two other hospital systems have also communicated their intent to leave MHA. Those hospitals include Merit Health and Ochsner Health Systems.

Merit Health operates nine hospitals across Mississippi. The hospital system includes three locations in Rankin County, with additional location in Canton, Jackson, Vicksburg, Natchez, Biloxi, and Hattiesburg.

Ochsner operates seven hospitals across the state, six within the Rush Hospital System. Those hospitals include two locations in Meridian, with additional locations in Union, Quitman, Morton, and Dekalb. The seventh hospital operated by Ochsner is in Hancock County.

Dominos Continue Falling

The latest three hospital systems come after a wave of earlier hospitals that chose to disassociate with MHA.

Prior to the hospitals departing, MHA’s PAC made a $250,000 campaign contribution to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley on April 27th. The next day, Magnolia Tribune obtained UMMC’s notice to MHA of its departure. UMMC did not address the donation in its notice.

The MHA PAC also committed $100,000 to Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann’s re-election bid.

RELATED: UMMC terminates membership with Mississippi Hospital Association

Soon after UMMC’s departure, Memorial Hospital System, Singing River Hospital, and George Health System all announced similar decisions. Most recently, Forrest General Hospital joined the growing number.

Through public record requests, letters of membership termination were obtained from many of the publicly owned hospitals that have withdrawn. None of the hospitals have directly attributed their departure to the donation to the Presley campaign. Each termination letter expressed a loss of confidence in MHA’s leadership and strategy.

MHA’s fiscal year ends June 30th. The association receives large levels of funding through membership dues. These dues vary based on the size of hospital system, according to sources. The hospital systems that have left are among the largest in the state. The loss in member hospital systems could have a significant impact on MHA’s operational revenue moving forward.

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: