OCH in talks with three companies for potential affiliation

Administrator and CEO of OCH Richard Hilton discusses with the OCH Board of Trustees on creating a community advisory board to allow members in Oktibbeha County to provide a forum to voice their opinions and concerns about processes and operations. (Photo By Logan Kirkland, SDN)
By: 
LOGAN KIRKLAND
Staff Writer

OCH Regional Medical Center is moving forward with discussions to affiliate after talks with three different entities.

The three corporations OCH is in conversations with are Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, University of Mississippi Medical Center and North Mississippi Health Services Inc.

Administrator and CEO of OCH Richard Hilton told the Starkville Daily News he has already met with both UMMC and North Mississippi Health Services, and already has a scheduled meeting with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation.

“No discussions have taken place on what’s been presented,” Hilton said. “It’s presenting things of what those systems have to offer, that would be beneficial in having an affiliated arrangement.”

Hilton said once Baptist provides its presentation to the OCH Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees, they will more than likely not act, but decide if they want to meet with the entities again separately as a follow up.

The hospital board will then decide when it would want to meet to discuss and act on the three proposals.

“Then we will be in a better position to know what direction they want to take, or do they want one or more to come back for more detailed questioning, or will they feel that they have enough information,” Hilton said.

Since the fog of the election has cleared, Hilton said the employee morale has been “uplifting” and physician recruitment has opened up.

He said now, OCH has a plastic surgeon who will begin this Friday. The physician will come every Friday for surgery in the mornings and hold clinic in the afternoons.

“This will be an expansion of what we want to try and do with whoever we affiliate with,” Hilton said. “To bring specialists like this to Starkville.”

Hilton said the conversations with each corporation has been proactive, and each want to make themselves available to show they have something to offer.

Although each provide good ways to better OCH, Hilton said some have more strengths than others.

“It may be a challenging process on how to go through and make that final selection,” Hilton said.

Hilton said through this process, OCH wants more physician related services to help increase revenue and to look at ways to help contain and reduce costs.

Hilton said affiliation will not bring everything to OCH, but it will be a great start in the process.

“We want to look at those things that can help keep patients here, locally, longer,” Hilton said.

In terms of a timeline, Hilton said they have not set a date as to when they would like to have this process completed. He said with the holidays, it has caused the process to move slower than he wanted.

“This is not about speed, it’s about making the right decision,” Hilton said.

Once a decision is made, OCH will provide an announcement for the public.

COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD

The OCH Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees unanimously passed a motion to create a community advisory board to help create a “better route” for those in the community to provide their input on OCH’s operations.

“It would be good to have a cross representation of the community,” Hilton said. “Let them come in and
put their concerns out, or say what they’d like to see.”

Hilton said having this new advisory board will help provide clear information of processes, answer questions and to hopefully learn new ideas from community members.

“Then we can run with that, and show that we’re listening to what they have to say,” Hilton said.

As of right now, anyone interested in being a part of the board can contact OCH public Relations Director Mary Kathryn Kight to learn more information.

The group will have a limited number of members, but the number of members is not set at this time due to the preliminary stages.

Kight said once she gauges public interest, she will begin moving forward.

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