OCH Board to meet with Supes concerning affiliation

OCH Regional Medical Center (submitted)
Staff Writer

OCH Regional Medical Center may be one step closer to an affiliation agreement following a special call OCH Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.

After more than two hours in executive session, OCH CEO Richard Hilton said the board was ready to begin contract negotiations with a potential affiliate.

However, he said no name would be announced until a joint meeting with the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors in early June.

The OCH Board, hospital administrators and representatives from various hospital departments saw presentations from three hospital systems in January. Said systems include North Mississippi Health Services Inc., Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation and The University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“Tonight has culminated discussions that have been going on since January after the original presentations were made by the three systems,” Hilton said. “After those initial presentations, after review of those things, it led to some questions that the trustees wanted to have answered,” Hilton said.

He said the board went through responses to questions asked in earlier presentations. The OCH Board has met in executive session three times prior this month to give the organizations a chance to answer questions.

“The board has, after input from medical staff, our C-suite officers, and the trustees themselves, and interacting through a conversation, they have come to where they’re ready to consider recommendation of selection,” Hilton said.

OCH Board Chair Linda Breazeale emphasized the announcement would only reveal OCH would be in contract talks with.

“Contract talks could lead to no agreement,” Hilton said.

Breazeale also said the presentations had also served as a good opportunity to learn more about other health care systems in the area. She also emphasized OCH’s role in the Oktibbeha County and Starkville communities.

“I know that our community depends on us to provide quality healthcare, and we depend on the community to do more than just vote for us in a referendum,” Breazeale said. “Hopefully, regardless of who we affiliate with, our community will continue to support us here in Starkville at OCH Regional Medical Center.”

Discussion of affiliation began after a referendum on the sale or lease of the hospital failed at the ballot box in November 2017.