- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The Adams County Board of Supervisors has voted to enter into a letter of intent with a potential buyer for the county-owned Natchez Regional Medical Center.

The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1kx8dEE ) that the letter approved Thursday means both parties will continue negotiating in good faith.

The Rev. Leroy White, the chairman of the board for Natchez Regional, said a confidentiality agreement with the potential buyer keeps the hospital from publicly disclosing the buyer’s identity and specific terms of the letter.

The hospital filed for bankruptcy last month in what officials said was an effort to keep the facility’s doors open after its financial liabilities exceeded its assets.

“They want to be at the forefront of making the announcement, and we respect that,” he said.

The letter of agreement includes some terms that have already been reached, including a purchase price, the recruiting of physicians and the safeguarding of NRMC’s employees to a limited extent, the hospital trustees’ attorney Walter Brown said.

“The potential buyer is a highly-qualified, well-respected, well-financed hospital system,” he said.

A binding asset purchase agreement will be more specific about what is being purchased and could be reached in 30 days, Brown said.

“We think this is a very positive step toward paying off the county’s debt to the Mississippi Development Bank and to paying off the hospital’s creditors,” he said.

The board of supervisors met behind closed doors to discuss the letter of intent with Brown, White and NRMC Chief Executive Officer Donny Rentfro.

After the meeting, supervisors president Darryl Grennell said the vote was unanimous.

The terms of the letter of intent required acceptance before Tuesday.

___

Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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