October 7, 2017 9:45:11 PM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership will host a Wednesday evening informational forum about the November OCH Regional Medical Center referendum.
The forum, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Greensboro Center, comes ahead of the Nov. 7 special election where the public will vote whether to allow Oktibbeha County Supervisors to proceed with a sale or lease of the hospital.
Two non-profit hospital systems -- Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation and North Mississippi Health Services, have submitted bids to purchase the 96 bed, county-owned hospital. Oktibbeha County supervisors named the two organizations earlier this week, after both groups consented to their names being made public.
Baptist, based in Memphis, Tennessee, has 21 hospitals in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas -- including a Golden Triangle facility located in Columbus -- along with several smaller clinic operations.
North Mississippi Health Services, with its flagship facility in Tupelo, owns six hospitals in north Mississippi -- including one in West Point -- as well as more than 50 clinics in Mississippi and northwest Alabama.
Partnership CEO Scott Maynard said Wednesday's forum will be a chance for the public to hear from "both sides" of the hospital debate. He said the supervisors, or their representatives or consultants will be at the forum, as will OCH Regional Medical center representatives. Maynard said the forum shouldn't last longer than an hour and a half.
"Our goal is to provide an educational forum where both sides have an opportunity to answer questions and clear up any misconceptions that might exist in voters' minds," Maynard said. "We want to present the facts so everyone understands all aspects of the supervisors' (request for proposals) as well as OCH Regional Medical Center's position on the sale."
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