Natchez (Miss.) Regional Medical Center plans to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy
for the second time in five years.
The hospital's financial liabilities exceed its assets by about $3 million, according to local reports. Natchez officials have pointed to decreases in revenue
from declining federal reimbursements for putting the hospital in the red.
As a result, the county-owned hospital, along with the help of Healthcare Management Partners, has been looking since July for a suitable buyer. Just last month, officials announced that a potential buyer had been identified and negotiations were underway.
This isn't the first time Natchez Regional has attempted to sell the facility. The hospital put itself up for sale in 2008, but the process ended without a buyer being identified. Then in February 2009, Natchez Regional filed for bankruptcy and 10 months later emerged from those proceedings. Also in December 2009, the hospital sued Quorum Health Resources—its former management company—and former CEO and chief financial officer for negligence, breach of fiduciary duties, fraud
and other wrongful acts. Seeking more than $40 million in damages, Natchez Regional settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
Before the latest round of bankruptcy proceedings can start, the Mississippi
state legislature and Gov. Phil Bryant have to approve a bill allowing it. An identical bill was signed when Natchez Regional previously filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, which provides for the resolution of municipal debts.Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden