As Gov. Tate Reeves announced his plan to save Mississippi’s rural hospitals, the state hospital association’s longtime leader prepared for his last day at the organization.

Tim Moore, who’s led the Mississippi Hospital Association for a decade, confirmed to Mississippi Today that the board fired him. His last day is today. 

“The board made a decision to execute a unilateral separation that’s in my employment contract,” Moore said when reached by phone. He declined to say when the decision was made but said he has known about it “for some time.” 

The decision comes months after a handful of hospitals cut ties with the Mississippi Hospital Association following a $250,000 donation from the group’s political action committee to Reeves’ opponent in the gubernatorial race, Democrat Brandon Presley.

It was the PAC’s largest donation in history.

Moore, who led both the organization and its PAC, was criticized harshly in the weeks that followed the decision, though he maintained he was acting out the wishes of the association and its directors. 

The hospitals that left the organization included the state’s largest public hospital, the University of Mississippi Medical Center. UMMC’s leaders, Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and medical school dean, and Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs, stood at the governor’s right hand as he announced his plan at a press conference Thursday, along with almost all of the leaders of the hospitals that previously left the association. 

The only health care leader on stage whose health care facility had not left the organization was Gregg Gibbes, CEO of South Central Regional Medical Center. 

On stage, Reeves said the health care leaders had approached him a few months ago after the “conversation had devolved around health care in Mississippi.”

Moore said the governor had a “huge impact” on the hospitals’ decisions to leave the organization. He did not offer any further details.  

“My concern is not for me — I’m fine,” he said. “But I’m afraid we’ve got a lot of hospitals that are not going to get the representation that they need because people will not stand up for them, and that’s going to be a problem. That’s going to affect health care in the state of Mississippi.

“I wish the best for the hospital association and the membership,” he added. 

The Mississippi Hospital Association, a member of the American Hospital Association, represents the interests of Mississippi’s hospitals and advocates for health care policy change, including Medicaid expansion. They also offer services to member hospitals, like a health information exchange program and educational courses. According to its website, the MHA comprises over 100 hospitals, health care systems and other providers, as well as over 50,000 employees.

None of those hospitals, as of today, has rejoined the organization. 

In the interim, Kim Hoover, the chief operating officer, will maintain operations of the organization, Moore said. 

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.