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Choctaw County, MS(WCBI)-As Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw prepares to leave Ackerman, Choctaw County officials are scrambling to find a health care tenant for their critical access hospital.

One thing is certain, Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw is pulling out of its contract. And people using the hospital and nearby nursing home facilities are voicing uncertainty. They say Pioneer came into the area and was as good as sliced bread…. Now they are left hungry for another health care provider.

“A lot of the things that haven’t quite worked for Pioneer here in this county and we just feel like its in the best interest of the people here in this county to be able to choose a partner going forward, that they can work a little bit better with,” said Allen Gamble, Hospital Administrator.

“The physical therapy, the hospital, the nursing home, our doctors that we have here in town. Several jobs that’s, it going to effect everything, said Penny Lucas, Resident.

Choctaw County resident Penny Lucas has three relatives living in the Pioneer Nursing Home, one of those relatives is her mother. A passionate Lucas is quick to give her reason why Pioneer is leaving Ackerman.

“I personally think the reason that they are pulling out is because they are not making the money here in Choctaw County that they thought or intended to make. So therefore their cooperate is saying move on,” said Lucas.

“No, its not a financial decision at all,” responded Gamble.

The annual bond indebtedness to pay for the recently completed new hospital is between one point five and one point eight million dollars. Covering as much of that cost is important to avoid leaving taxpayers holding the bag. Supervisors say they have five perspective tenants and they’ll try to reach a financial deal that works for the new provider and tax payers. But time is running out.

“We’ve talked to the different Baptist organizations in the state. University and Rush Hospital in Meridian. And that’s Baptist/Memphis…Baptist Jackson,” said Chris McIntire, County Supervisor.

Pioneer is expected to remain in place until August 1st to help with what they call a smooth transition.

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