Singing River Health System retirees have landed at the state Capitol, where they spent the morning picketing for open community hospital meetings and records.
The retirees braved freezing weather, with warnings of iced roads, in a van provided by Church on the Rock in Pascagoula. A community member supplied $100 for gas, said Trudy Nelson, a vested former employee who helps run the SRHS Hopes Facebook page.
One of the retirees who sued the health system over its underfunded pension, Kitty Aguilar, is updating the Facebook page with photos and posts. "After talking with Senator (Brice) Wiggins, the group went to the Senate chamber in the fourth floor, where we were introduced by Brice and recognized by the full Senate," one post this morning read.
Wiggins has introduced SB 2407, which would opencommunity hospital meetings and records to the public, with exceptions for matters such as physician or health-care group recruitment, along with other exemptions that apply to public bodies.
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The retirees figure secrecy fostered the financial problems that came to light at Singing River in 2014. This will be about the 10th picket for retirees over their underfunded pension, which Singing River's Board of Trustees secretly voted to terminate. Termination is on hold while the courts and Jackson County, which owns the health system, examine the problem.
Wiggins' bill unanimously passed the Senate and moves to a House committee, where deadline for approval is March 3. If approved, it will go to the full House for consideration.