LIFE SUPPORT: Part 5A "street talk"

The fight to save Greenwood Leflore Hospital has sparked a lot of talk and a lot of accusations. Where it comes from isn't exactly clear... but what does seem clear, is that the deal to save the hospital went very wrong... very quickly.

As Delta News Reporter Dennis Turner continues digging into why... he finds some leaders may never have wanted the deal in the first place.

So far, The Delta News has identified three possible contributing factors to the failure of the deal to save the Greenwood Leflore Hospital.

First, Thinking they could get a better deal somewhere else, Leflore County Supervisor's refuse to put UMMC's name on a letter of credit guaranteeing the money it pledged to save the hospital.

Then came news that whatever money the city and county could get together, would take at least a month, or as much as 90 days.

But if Leflore Supervisors seemed less than forthcoming in open session about their distaste for UMMC, they spoke openly about it to this voter's league meeting soon after their controversial move.

"We don't wanna put the money up but we will if have to," said Board Chairman Robert Collins who seemed to believe UMMC would short-change Greenwood, leaving it with less than it has now.

"We do want to know what we're going to get. We were told we were gonna get something like an emergency room, outpatient care, and no labor and delivery here that was gonna go to Grenada. We don't want that," he said.

He doesn't exactly say what he does want... but it's obviously more than UMMC is willing to give... and remember, up until now, the negotiations have taken place in secret.... and that's another problem.

"I don't trust the people who's doing our negotiating they're the same people running it in the ground and I can't see that they're looking out for our interest," said Collins.

The board hired a pricy consultant to help it chart a course forward, and seems willing to take over and chart their own course... something board members strongly denied when The Delta News first reported the board's threat to do it back in the spring.

"Cause we want to do it ourselves. We're trying not to make any mistakes if we can help it. We need all the paperwork we can get," Collins explained.

Board Member Eric Mitchell says, it's all about the money.

"It makes no sense, makes no business sense, to put good money in bad situations if you don't understand the situation you're in," he said.

Can the consultant help them understand?

Some say, it could be too late.

"Board of Supervisors has been asking to be in on negotiation since the beginning of this year... now, we're at the point now, you know I don't know if you can even call it a negotiation when somebody got you bent over," said Supervisor Reginald Moore.

A shocking thought, but with nothing to lose, critics of the board say, shock is all they have left.

"You see I believe... something's going on, you know... a failure by design... set up to fail," said Moore.

Maybe, but as part owner of the hospital.. you have to wonder why these leaders allowed themselves to be set up to fail in the first place.

Then again... Mitchell could be right... it could be... "all about the money".

"Lets go get the money!" Moore exclaimed at the end of a recent meeting.

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