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Hospitals agree to new leasing arrangement

TYLERTOWN — During a meeting of the Walthall County Board of Supervisors Aug. 2, board members reviewed a proposed lease agreement between Walthall County and Forrest County that involves Walthall County General Hospital and Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. This lease agreement was approved in principle, resulting in a five-year lease agreement between the two counties. Pending further review, plans for the five-year lease agreement are expected to be approved and finalized in September, effective Oct. 1.

With this agreement, Forrest County will lease both the assets and the license to operate Walthall County General Hospital, while Walthall County maintains ownership of the hospital building and equipment. Forrest County has appointed the Board of Trustees for Forrest General Hospital to manage the facility. All employees of Walthall County General Hospital will become Forrest General employees under the new agreement. This will be beneficial for those working at Walthall County General Hospital, offering improved benefits and resources for the staff.

“Forrest General has made a strong commitment to support the future of healthcare in south Mississippi and the southeast region,” said Evan Dillard, Forrest General president and CEO. “This agreement between Walthall and Forrest Counties will serve to enhance the care available to residents of our region and strengthen the relationship that currently exists between these two hospitals. We are very pleased with this new agreement and look forward to working closely with Walthall County on an even greater level.”

Forrest General has maintained a 25-year management agreement with Walthall County General Hospital. The new lease agreement takes that relationship to a higher level, improving quality of care and providing continuity of care with the electronic medical record that will allow transfer of medical records between the two hospitals.

“The management agreement between Forrest General and Walthall County Hospital has fostered a very good working relationship, but this lease agreement truly takes that relationship to the next level,” said Walthall County General Hospital administrator Jimmy Graves. “Further improving the relationship between our two hospitals will provide better access to technology and many other outstanding benefits. With the changes taking place in today’s healthcare environment, this agreement will allow Walthall County General Hospital to better prepare to improve the future of healthcare in our area.”

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