After 'largest accounts receivable adjustment in American healthcare history,' new Singing River Health CEO eyes financial turnaround

Pascagoula, Miss.-based Singing River Health System promoted Lee Bond from COO to CEO in April. In a recent interview with WLOX, Mr. Bond spoke about the health system's previous $150 million pension fallout and ongoing financial improvements.

Here are five highlights from the interview:

1. In April, Mr. Bond succeeded former CEO Kevin Holland, who led Singing River Health System during a period of upheaval and financial instability. In 2016, the health system reached a proposed settlement and agreed to pay $150 million to release it from liability over its failed pension plan. However, in July 2017, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals failed to approve the proposed settlement, sending it back to U.S. District Court Judge Louis Guirola. Earlier in 2017, Singing River also terminated its neurosurgery services, stating it could "no longer afford the two surgeons required to continue neurological services at its facilities."

2. Four years ago, the system wrote off more than $80 million in bad debt. Mr. Bond told WLOX: "It was bad. It was the largest accounts receivable adjustment in American healthcare history, unfortunately, and probably the largest pension debacle in American healthcare history."

3. The pension fallout is still tied up in courts, according to the report. However, Mr. Bond said "there's no reason to believe" the $150 million in payments will not be made during the next 30 years.

4. Mr. Bond said Singing River Health is in the midst of a financial turnaround. While the system had eight days on cash three and a half years ago, that number has risen to 91. He added the system's quality metrics continue to improve.

5. Mr. Bond said taking over as CEO during a tumultuous time was not a hard decision. "I took it because there are a lot of people who have worked really hard over the past few years and really, I feel deserve for this system to thrive," he told WLOX.

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