Leadership concerns spur exodus from Mississippi Hospital Association

Several hospitals are departing the Mississippi Hospital Association, citing concerns with the association's leadership, Mississippi Today reported May 2.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson notified the MHA on April 28 that the state's largest public hospital would be terminating its membership in the group, effective immediately, according to a letter the Magnolia Tribune obtained through a public records request.

A letter from UMMC to MHA states that the termination is "due to recurring behavior including insufficient transparency around decision making, a misaligned strategic vision and a lack of effective communication. While we see value in MHA as an organization, we have lost confidence in the current leadership." UMMC declined to comment further when contacted by Becker's.

UMMC sent the letter after the association's political action committee, Friends of Mississippi Hospitals, approved a $250,000 donation to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley, according to the Magnolia Tribune.

Since UMMC sent its letter, Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Ocean Springs-based Singing River Health System and George Regional Health System in Lucedale have also terminated their membership in MHA, Mississippi Today reported. The hospitals reportedly cited concerns with the association's leadership.

MHA President Tim Moore told Becker's in a phone interview May 2 that no leadership changes are planned at the association and that the situation comes down to "a difference of opinion."

"It is the opinion of a few hospitals and a solution that was made by the board of governors to recommend a considerable political donation to a challenging gubernatorial candidate. It's a difference of opinion," Mr. Moore said. 

He also said that the MHA is "working and will continue to work in the best interests of hospitals regardless."

"Anything we're able to be successful in accomplishing, they're going to be able to benefit from," added Mr. Moore. "I do hope that after further instructions, the board will be able to resolve these differences of opinion and get everyone into a consensus again. The strength and benefit of hospitals across Mississippi is being in one united voice."

None of the hospitals specifically cited the donation as a reason for exiting in their letters to the association.

The MHA represents the interests of hospitals in the state legislature. Its website states that it comprises more than 100 hospitals, health systems, networks, care providers and a pool of more than 50,000 employees.

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