- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The owner of two hospitals in Natchez will begin consolidation of the medical centers in 2015.

For now, Community Health Systems officials told The Natchez Democrat (https://bit.ly/1vzOQB7) that Natchez Regional Medical Center and Natchez Community Hospital will operate separately but will share top administrators and governing boards.

CHS already owned Natchez Community Hospital. Its acquisition of Natchez Regional Medical Center was finalized Wednesday.

Natchez Community Hospital Chief Executive Officer Eric Robinson will also serve as NRMC’s CEO, replacing Donny Rentfro.

“The combination of these facilities ultimately will result in an operationally strong hospital, a more coordinated approach to patient care and enhanced access to a wide array of quality health services for local residents,” said CHS President and CEO Wayne Smith.

Natchez Regional Medical Center is a 179-bed hospital. Natchez Community Hospital is a 101-bed facility.

Officials said the hospitals would be doing a needs assessment as the consolidation goes forward to see what other services may be implemented. The assessment will not only look at what needs the community’s populations have, but will be done with direct engagement with the medical staff, they said.

NRMC was previously owned by Adams County. It was sold during a bankruptcy proceeding that was approved earlier this week.

The sale was for $10 million. To cover the cost of paying off the county-backed bonds associated with the hospital, CHS also agreed to pre-pay $8 million in ad valorem taxes.

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

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