BATESVILLE – "If this hospital is going to make a go of it, we’ve got to have some changes," said Richard Manning, administrator of Tri-Lakes Medical Center.
"People in a position of helping others make decisions about health care will determine whether we have health care on a local basis," Manning said, "or whether we must bring someone in from the outside to run it."
With that simple, yet powerful statement, Manning summed up what he believes is the root of the hospital’s financial difficulties.
"If we can’t get some things going in the near future," he said, "the county and city will have to make some choices about the hospital’s future."
Tri-Lakes Medical Center is co-owned by Panola County and by the City of Batesville. The county owns 60 percent and the city owns 40 percent.
"One of the biggest problems the hospital faces," Manning said, "is that local doctors are not utilizing the hospital to the degree they should be."
Tri-Lakes Medical Center, a 70-bed facility, opened in April of 2001, a mere 16 months ago.
The $20,511,824 medical facility is 110,000 square feet in size and sits at the southeast corner of Interstate 55 and Highway 6 East in Batesville.
Funding for the medical center was secured with revenue bonds.
Manning said the hospital’s financial difficulties began appearing over the past several months.
"We lost four doctors this year," Manning said. "After that, we really noticed the affect financially."