No One “Mans Up,” Everyone Lawyers Up; Guice Worried About SRHS Solvency?

$345,000+ to Billy Guice & LaPorte
$500,000+ to Dentons and Dogan & Wilkinson
? to Franke & Salloum
? to Daniel Coker Horton & Bell
? to FTI Consulting
FBI Investigation
DA Investigation
Grand Jury review

 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12


All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, couldn’t put the pension plan back together again?

Billy Guice stated that had SRHS management “manned up” to the pension problems, we wouldn’t be here today. The problem is staring all of Jackson County in the face. Here in present day all players have yet to “man up” but all involved have “lawyered up,” much to the benefit of Mr. Guice and his ilk.

Jackson County and Singing River have spent well over $1 million in “attempting” to solve the problem. For all the lawyers, accountants, and consultants, not one has managed to find a workable solution.  It’s time for leadership, brave and bold new thinking, and for the players to shed the bunker mentality.

The good ol’ boys are circling the  wagons. It’s difficult to pass off as coincidence the concurrent releases by Singing River Health System, Billy Guice, and Tony Lawrence. Billy Guice sees fit to tell you there is nothing more the county can do, but that he is not yet finished with his investigation. What more is there to investigate? How to bill enough for a fleet of Mercedes, maybe a new Hatteras? According to his statements on WLOX he is now investigating on how to keep the system solvent.

His statement should be setting off alarm bells. He’s focusing on keeping the hospital solvent. That suggests that the hospital will not only be defaulting on obligations to pension holders, but also on those to other creditors, e.g. Wall Street bond holders. The supervisors have already committed the county to repaying back that money, in the case that Singing River cannot. Not so for the pensioners. Is SRHS really in such bad shape so as to need yet another round of studies and investigations?

Are the business processes and procedures of a hospital really within the purview of an attorney? Maybe he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Do we really need to spend another taxpayer dime on an attorney with no healthcare management experience trying to come up with “solutions?” There has been very little return on the investment thus far. The JCBOS needs to cut its losses and ties to Bully Guice.

In any case, SRHS recently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on real management consultants who specialize in health care. This was at the behest of the Wall Street bond holders and their insurer, Assured Guaranty.  FTI was touted as the hospital’s saving grace, the same company that turned around Coca Cola. They reviewed nearly every aspect of SRHS’ business processes. This resulted in the layoffs of several employees, the reshuffling of dozens of others, the closure and outsourcing of an entire department, terminating Roy Williams’ son’s contract,  the hiring of new auditors, the discovery of the accounting adjustment, the exit of several C-suiters and VPs, and thus the “discovery” of the underfunded pension plan. Little did FTI know there would be so many threads on which to pull and where all of those little threads would lead.

Does Mr. Guice feel he can do a better job than did FTI? Does FTI need to be called back in and have their scope expanded? Should the Board of Supervisors act in association with Assured Guaranty to leverage control over SRHS? What specifically is causing Mr. Guice to worry about the solvency of the health system? What makes him have little confidence in the current turn-around plan? What makes him express the need for a turn-around artist at SRHS?

 A Farce

Let’s review some of the volleys exchanged between all of similarly aligned interests:

  • SRHS sues Gentry Williams for over billing, yet retains his brother Brett Williams as counsel
  • The supervisors defend all of their trustee appointments
  • The supervisors re-appoint a trustee
  • A week later the supervisors ask all the trustees to step down. Not one trustee obliges.
  • Singing River and the Jackson County BOS sign a Joint Defense Agreement
  • The JCBOS alleged never provides any information to the SRHS Board of Trustees, yet threatens them
  • SRHS finally outlines a plan
  • The county says it disagrees with the plan and essentially calls SRHS management a bunch of liars
  • The supervisors throw their appointed trustees under the bus
  • SRHS responds through their attorneys, reminding JCBOS of their Joint Defense Agreement

All of this is a charade. The supervisors have spent seven months and hundreds of thousand of dollars pretending to give a damn about SRHS and the retirees. Based on what the trustees and SRHS are saying, Billy Guice and the  JCBOS has done nothing to help them. Whether or not this is all a well-rehearsed dance or legitimate, all of this silly in-fighting does nothing to help the retirees. It’s time to “man up” and do the right thing.

Let’s not fund another act of this kabuki theater. Vote them all out on August 4th.


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