Hancock County

Supervisors approve emergency funding for Hancock Medical payroll

Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis
Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

The Hancock County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved an emergency $200,000 for Hancock Medical Center so that payroll can be made for the remainder of the month.

A few months ago, the county entered into a lease/purchase agreement with Ochsner, which will pay the county to operate the hospital for 25 years, and then have the option to purchase it afterward.

The transition, however, has not moved as quickly as expected.

Board of Supervisors President Blaine LaFontaine said Monday that the delay in transferring ownership is due to licensing issues with the state.

LaFontaine said the process may have been slowed because of the holidays, but he expects everything to be approved soon.

“Once it’s approved, then all of the liability falls on Ochsner,” he said. “Until then, we still have to maintain the hospital.”

Alan Hodges, who has managed HMC for Ochsner the past two years, said the hospital has been having decent financial months, but it needed about $375,000 to comfortably operate until the end of February.

Supervisors authorized $200,000 and said they would revisit the remainder of the request if the contract with Ochsner is not finalized by the end of the month.