Hancock Medical Center is looking for help from a new partner as it, like many hospitals, struggles with the financial cost of providing millions of dollars in uncompensated care. The hospital has signed a temporary management agreement with Louisiana’s Oschner Health System.
This comes about a month after the county-owned hospital announced layoffs and asked county supervisors for a bond issue -- blaming, in part, $11 million in uncompensated care over the previous year. J. Larry Ladner is chairman of the hospital’s board. He says the hospital sees many uninsured patients.
New Hancock Medical CEO Polly Davenport says Oschner’s strategy for managing uncompensated care includes encouraging primary care and making sure people who are qualify for Medicaid are entered into the system.
Hancock Medical Center is not alone in its struggles with uncompensated care, an issue that came into sharp relief during the Medicaid expansion debate in the Mississippi legislature earlier this year. State representative David Baria, a Democrat who represents parts of Hancock County, argues that as federal DISH subsidies for uncompensated care go away, the state needs to expand Medicaid to help hospitals like Hancock Medical.
The Mississippi legislature rejected Medicaid expansion earlier this year but House Democrats are calling for the issue to be brought up again in January.