Closure looms for Mississippi hospital

KPC Promise Hospital in Vicksburg, Miss., may be forced to close next month after missing lease payments to its landlord, Flowood, Miss.-based Merit Health. 

Promise Hospital — a 35-bed long-term acute care facility — has been leasing space from Merit Health River Region, a 361-bed facility, since 2018. It previously spent 15 years at River Region's west campus, according to radio network Supertalk Mississippi.

"KPC Promise Hospital, which has been leasing space on the hospital’s 6th floor, has been unable to fulfill its contractual obligations for more than a year," a representative for Merit Health told Becker's. "Prior to terminating the lease, we worked with KPC Promise for several months toward a mutually agreeable resolution. KPC Promise Hospital leadership has not shared with us their plans for the future." 

Two long-term care facilities in Jackson will facilitate admission for patients who still require long-term acute care services post-discharge, the health system said. 

Torrance Green, MD, Promise Hospital's medical director, told Becker's the services they provide are vital to the rural patient population. 

"We're an integral part of this community," Dr. Green said. "We provide services that are not duplicated or accessible to this community in 60, 90 miles in any direction."

Although the hospital was behind $1 million on rent, Promise Hospital has a "very good relationship" with Merit Health River Region, according to Dr. Green. He believes the decision to evict the hospital is coming from the corporate level — Merit Health's parent company, Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems. 

Dr. Green pointed to recent service cuts the company has made in Mississippi, including the closure of the state's only burn center and broad service cuts at Merit Health Central in Jackson. Evicting Promise Hospital would further deprive the region of care, he said. 

"Here again, they're given a decision where it would enhance access to care," Dr. Green said.  "They're making a decision for the bottom line."

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