Singing River Health System closing Pascagoula clinic

tleytham@sunherald.comJuly 17, 2014 

TAMMY LEYTHAM/SUN HERALDA sign on the door Thursday at the Singing River Health System MedWorks clinic on Old Mobile Highway in Pascagoula indicates the site will close permanently July 31.

PASCAGOULA -- The Singing River Health System Medworks clinic in East Pascagoula is closing July 31.

The occupational medicine clinic is at 5912 Old Mobile Highway.

The closure is permanent, according to a sign posted on the clinic door.

SRHS spokesman Richard Lucas said a hospital executive could talk today about the closing.

MedWorks opened in 2009, and provided basic X-rays, breath alcohol tests, drug testing, hearing tests and more.

It was not listed Thursday on the Singing River Health System web site, and occupational medicine was not listed among services offered.

The closure comes on the heels of cost-cutting measures in May that included elimination of two administrative positions -- chief operating officer of programs and head of information technology position.

At that time, Lucas called it a "regular restructuring," not a response to news earlier this year of shortfalls in revenue.

In March, health system officials reported that the Jackson County hospital system has $88 million in projected revenue it would not be able to collect.

A new audit firm with for the hospital system turned up the shortfall -- $27 million from last year and $61 million from the previous five years.

According to Kevin Holland, new CEO for the county hospital system, the money is an accumulation of unpaid patient bills that the hospital system had believed it could collect and now does not.

The hospital system is county-owned and the taxpayers of Jackson County co-sign the hospital's debt, but it is self-supporting and does not use tax dollars to operate.

The hospital system includes Pascagoula's Singing River Hospital, the Ocean Springs Hospital and various clinics in Jackson and Harrison counties.

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