Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Winston Churchill.
The taxpaying citizens of Jackson County, Mississippi will be the people footing the bill for the failures and white collar crimes at Singing River Health System. The retirement scandal is not the only crime that was committed against the citizens of this community. This story began years before the retirement fund was robbed by the Leadership at Board of Trustees at SRHS.
In 1998/99 Chris Anderson helped lead the charge for a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) on the Coast. Does anyone else remember Mississippi Select? It never got off the ground and costs the health care systems on the Coast millions of dollars. Why did it not succeed? Two words – Chris Anderson.
Chris then went about attempting to build a WORLD CLASS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. I’m not sure what business school Chris went to but he must have missed most of the semester while he was planning Christmas parties, ski trips, System ‘retreats’ in Alabama and multiple other grandiose meetings and schemes.
However, Chris did find the time to attempt to build an Empire:
Purchase private practices from doctors: remember this includes equipment, building, staff, benefits etc….. for each purchase.
• Gautier Medical Clinic (Dr. Holbert, Dr. McBroom) aka SRHS Clinics- Gautier
• D’Iberville Medical Clinic ( Dr. Rosenqust) aka SRHS Clinics – D’Iberville
• Cedar Lake Medical Clinic (Dr. Hansen) aka SRHS Clinics – Biloxi
• Pascagoula Family Practice (Dr. Donald, Dr. Williamson, Dr. Groff) aka SRHS Clinics – Pascagoula
Expanded Service Lines:
• Behavioral Health Services – opened 3 additional locations and 9 physicians
• The Cardio-vascular Surgeons opened 2 additional locations and 2 heart surgeons
• The Regional Cancer Center opened 1 additional location and 3 physicians
• Hospice of light
• Sent SRHS Inpatient Physicians to staff George Regional Hospital.
• Established multiple clinics in Lucedale.
• Opened MedWorks (Workman Compensation Only Clinic)
• Opened the HealthPlex building
• Opened the Outpatient building at 3535 Bienville Blvd, Ocean Springs
• Opened the Neuro building at 3603 Bienville Blvd, Ocean Springs
• Purchase land on Hwy 603 north of D’Iberville
• Purchase the China Garden building in Pascagoula, Located next door to Singing River Hospital
• Mitchell building in Ocean Springs for $8000 per month. Used the clinic for SRHS Clinics- Ocean Springs.
• Smith building in Gautier at $34,000 per month. Space was used for various salaried employees.
• Let not forget the travel budget. Employees would attend seminars, conventions and meetings out of town and many used this for a family vacation trip. They also were on the clock and provided with travel expenses. The spouse or, friend would pay their own airfare but they got to stay in the accommodations for free.
• Sponsored Golf Tournaments
• Annual Christmas Party for physicians.
• Annual Strategic Planning retreat in Alabama and/or Florida
You would think Chris would not have time to come up with more wasteful spending. After all, his well known peccadilloes and dalliances had to take some time. But you gotta admire his determination to “conquer the world” and he implemented another HMO attempt in 2013 . This time he called it Clinical Integration and spent millions (yes, millions) of dollars on attorneys (I guess the attorney in house was not smart enough) and salary on a Vice President who did not have a clue about medicine in the civilian world.
Where did the money come from? If you guessed the Retirement Plan then you are absolutely correct.
Singing River Health System was the second largest employer in the county. The employees were very loyal to SRHS and time and time again Chris Anderson AND THE REST OF THE LEADERSHIP TEAM stood in front of the Employees and lied like a rug! They were lead to believe that with dedication and hard work came rewards. Longevity and being vested would pay in retirement. This was explained during new employee orientation and participation was mandatory after 90 days of service. If you did not agree with this withhold you did not work at Singing River Health System. The employees were obligated to contribute to the SRHS retirement and those who lied and cheated should be held liable for not fulfilling their obligation to contribute and make their deposit to the fund.
Gary Christopher Anderson, ex-SRHS CEO, and his Board of Trustees were entrusted to oversee the Health System. The minutes of the Retirement Fund Board surly had to go through the minutes of the Board of Trustees. We all know that the SRHS Board of Trustees meets on the last Wednesday of each month. The BOT also received their Board Agenda days prior to the meeting so they did have time to review the information. Someone should have seen a red flag when Chris Anderson placed Stephanie Barnes-Taylor in the chair designated for an employee on the Retirement Fund Board.
SRHS has pointed their finger at the auditors and Medicaid as a reason for not making the deposits. The Medicaid cutbacks were announced a year in advance and they had time to adjust their spending. Chris Anderson practically lived in Jackson and he was well aware of all of the healthcare issues in the state. Now they blame primarily Medicaid cut backs for the problem but during those very years that no deposit was made to the retirement fund Gary Christopher Anderson continued to spend multi millions on building a fictitious Empire.
And, like most cowards, Chris Anderson ran as far and as fast as he could to avoid his responsibilities. I would suggest to the people in Jackson, MS that they “watch their backs” as a leopard does not change his spots. Chris is “leading” the MS Affiliated Network (MAN). His involvement is this organization has been well documented on SRHS Watch. I would recommend everyone read what Chris is up to now.…..is anyone else scared?
Finally remember, while all of this was taking place Kevin Holland was sitting in the meetings and prospering from the friendship he had with his buddy Chris Anderson. Now he leads the Health System and is using Chris Anderson teachings as his guide. We must demand new leadership at SRHS and not internal changes and a few people moving around and changing positions and title. The BOT must search for a new CEO, CFO, CCO and let the new Executives bring much needed change and honesty. It is past time for change!
Publisher’s note: This story was submitted by an SRHS insider. There are many more like it which should be told under oath.