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Natchez hospital now looking at sale

The trustees of Natchez Regional Medical Center, who only a month ago got state approval to file bankruptcy to deal with dwindling finances, are now considering a plan to sell the hospital.

The hospital’s board of trustees plan approved Monday would convert the medical facility to a private corporation. The hospital is currently owned by Adams County.

Once the conversion is done, the sale could go ahead, board members said.

Hospital board attorney Walter Brown said the county board of supervisors has been asked to start the process that could lead to the sale.

In the meantime, NRMC CEO Scott Phillips said other changes will take place, including reducing the hospital’s staff, declaring Chapter 9 bankruptcy and securing short-term financing to keep the hospital running.

The hospital needs between $2 million and $3 million in interim funding, Phillips said.

The hospital is currently losing between $250,000 to $300,000 per month, he said.

Phillips said the bankruptcy filing won’t likely happen for at least four months.

Under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the publicly owned NRMC had to get approval from the state — in this case, the Legislature — to proceed.

The plan currently calls for the hospital’s sale during bankruptcy. Brown said that type of sale assures a clean title on the hospital and assures creditors have been paid.