Inside Baseball: How Roy Williams’ Son Got a Sweetheart Deal at SRHS Part I

When the Affordable Care Act passed, full implementation of the plan wouldn’t occur for a few years. In order to immediately address the problem of people with pre-existing conditions who were unable to purchase insurance, the government set up a temporary plan call the “Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan” or PCIP.  The government put billions of dollars into PCIP to pay for medical treatment of participants. Since the government would be funding the plan, they chose an administrator to handle the claims and payments.  That administrator already had a contract providing the same services to government employees: GEHA.

This created a lucrative incentive for Singing River to sign patients up to the new plan. SRHS and GEHA had a contract that GEHA would pay 75% of Singing River’s billed charge – much higher than the industry average. For instance, if a patient came in for a surgery where the billed charge was $100,000, GEHA would pay SRHS $75,000.  Blue Cross might only pay $12,000.  The gravy train was coming to town and SRHS needed to get on board.

The problem was that many patients couldn’t afford the premiums of PCIP. Instead, the hospital would pay those monthly premiums of $400-$500 on behalf of the patient. The hospital would come out ahead when the insurance paid the bill.  Due to state laws, SRHS was unable to pay the patients directly, so they hired a middleman to make the payments.  For these services the middleman was paid a percentage of what the hospital initially collected.  Singing River already had an existing contractor in place to do this, called “The Outsource Group” (TOG).

Instead of using the incumbent contractor, SRHS’ newly promoted Financial Services Manager Josh Cole took an idea to Jon Reynolds. Reynolds was a financial advisor working with Charter Bank. Reynolds is well known around Pascagoula for his involvement in youth baseball – which is how Cole came to know Reynolds.  Indeed, it is through youth baseball that Cole even got a job at SRHS.  Cole had no degree and no prior healthcare or business experience, yet was promoted to lead the financial services department under Wayne Smith, the Director of Financial Services.  In fact, a competent and experienced female manager was demoted to make room for the inexperienced Cole in the good ol’ boys club.

Cole and Reynolds cooked up the idea of forming a new company to which SRHS would award a contract to sign up patients for the PCIP.  Cole would direct his employees to identify patients who were uninsured and would require major surgery or ongoing treatments such as chemotherapy. Those employees would then refer the case to Reynolds who would fill out the paperwork, cut a check for the insurance, and then collect 11% of whatever Singing River was paid.

Just a dozen chronically ill patients requiring surgery and further treatments could easily yield $1 million in revenue to Reynolds.

Reynolds teamed up with Gentry Williams to assist in providing funding and connections. Williams’ father, Roy, was the attorney for the SRHS Board of Trustees.  He was also a business partner with board member Morris Strickland in different investments, including the Pascagoula Hilton Garden Inn. That hotel was one which Cole was trying to get a landscaping contract for a family member – a business in which Cole was interested.

Editor’s note: This is part one of a multi-part series on Gentry Williams and the Jackson County Outsource Group.

15 thoughts on “Inside Baseball: How Roy Williams’ Son Got a Sweetheart Deal at SRHS Part I

  1. I wonder if Wayne Smith got any type of financial reward. What experience does Josh Cole have? How can we find out how much the Jackson County outsource group was paid? Aren’t they being sued by SRHS? You don’t think Roy gave Gentry insider info, do you? Doesn’t the Foundation pay insurance premiums of SRHS patients?

      • Sources inform us complaints were made to the compliance hotline regarding JCOG and reviewed by Celeste Oglesby who found no issues at the time.

    • Also good information on this website: https://www.hollandhart.com/paying-insurance-premiums-for-patients

      There is a question which must be raised and considered regarding the 11% “kickback” given to the company for enrolling the patient. While there has certainly been conflicting opinions regarding this practice, which is unethical and a conflict of interest at best, by bringing another party into the contract and rewarding them with a kickback takes this to a new level.

      One would have to also consider questions regarding the legality of payments to the company signing up the patient: Was patient information shared? What conflicts exist between employees or beneficiaries of both the hospital and the company? Did those individuals use their access and knowledge of a patient’s information and financial situation for personal gain? Did the hospital induce referrals by providing a kickback for signing up patients to a private company?

      • You ask: “Did those individuals use their access and knowledge of a patient’s information and financial situation for personal gain?”

        Interesting question, especially as JCOG eventually morphed into a collection agency.

        • Why isn’t someone in jail yet? If an “ordinary” citizen had done this, they would be locked up and have hefty fines to pay. I guess in Jackson county illegality and unethical behavior or the norm but it not if you have the right connections! So sad!!

  2. I hope other hospital systems leaders are keeping informed of everything you are uncovering and publishing

    Hopefully that way all of these criminals will eventually be caught up with and dealt with accordingly

    SrhS human resources dept used the “At Will” clause everything time they could and look where it has gotten them

    The corruption that has taken place there and to think some of the same leaders that were there then are still there now in just different positions

    It was their job then as it is now to stop this kind of unethical activity

    It’s so sad that they all thought their deeds would never be none let alone published for the world to see. And to think, they all acted so much better than us little people

    At least we little people can sleep sound at night with total and complete clear conscious ‘.

  3. Jon Reynolds has spent his ill gotten Obama Care money on wine, women and Ashley Madison where he probably has already met his future wife.He is just an empty suit that feeds from Roy William’s schemes.When will somebody bring an end to this crime spree? The DA obviously will not.

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