GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — Greenwood and Leflore County are exploring the possibility of selling their jointly-owned hospital.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that ( ) the city council and board of supervisors voted in separate meetings Thursday to advertise for bids for Greenwood Leflore Hospital. They have a right to reject the bids.

They'll also hold public hearings, required by state law, to gauge public interest in the sale.

The decisions come after they received a consultant's report recommending Greenwood Leflore Hospital either add two members to its board, be operated by a community-based nonprofit corporation or be sold or leased to a private company.

Horne CPAs and Business Advisors of Ridgeland conducted the study for roughly $40,000.

No one from Horne appeared at either meeting. Margaret Williams, a Jackson attorney whose firm the county, city and hospital have hired to represent them in proposed hospital sale, summarized a report from the company for the Leflore County Board of Supervisors.

The Horne report recommends one of three options:

Change composition of the hospital board from five to seven members. One of the new members would be a physician.

Seek those in the community to form a community-based nonprofit corporation to operate the hospital similar to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. "The Hospital would continue as a 'Community Hospital' but without the political constraints of being directed by civic governance," the report said.

Sell the hospital or enter into a long-term lease as part of an affiliation with a larger hospital company. That option would afford the hospital the potential capital resources for plant renovations and improvements and should promote savings because of shared overhead costs, the report said.

The report found the 208-bed hospital has "experienced moderate profitability" over the past five years.

Williams said the report says Horne couldn't come up with an appraisal of the hospital's value without getting bids and recommended the county hold public hearings before deciding whether to seek bids. The process for holding public hearings before getting bids is spelled out in state law.


Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth,