Board of Supervisors President Harold Reynolds believes it's time to get the ball rolling on the county hospital, so why isn't Administrator Karen Fiducia cooperating?

A demographic study and needs assessment of the hospital was compiled and presented to the Board of Supervisors on Monday without all of the data, even though the previous board entered an order on its minutes demanding the data.

The study by Stroudwater Capital confirmed a 2004 university study which shows that about 70 percent of the population here seeks healthcare services outside Neshoba County.

Reynolds said he was concerned, as he should be, because the hospital administration didn't provide Stroudwater with all the data it needed for the study.

"I don't understand why it wasn't turned over if it was not confidential information," he said. Neither do we.

But Reynolds expressed optimism.

"We've got to come together and do something because the people deserve it. We have a good hospital and ER but improvements need to be made and I think it is past time for us to get with the program," Reynolds said this week after a demographic study and needs assessment on the hospital was presented to the board.

Reynolds says he will consider calling a work session with the supervisors and hospital trustees.

"We need to see what everybody's feelings are," he said.

A work session would be a good time for supervisors to ask some pointed questions.

District 5 Supervisor Obbie Riley is concerned about the withholding of information as well.

"It concerns me immensely," Riley said of the withheld data.

Riley said he is concerned that the county would spend the money for the report only to have the hospital administration stall.

"I think they should give the public full disclosure on why they did not comply," the newly-elected supervisor said.

Full disclosure is precisely what is needed at Neshoba General.

Stroudwater representatives presented the results and urged officials to work with the hospital trustees and other community leaders to develop a strategic plan specifically for the hospital.

Stroudwater's role from the outset was limited to the assessment, and supervisors should consider expanding their involvement.

According to the study, options range from a total facility replacement estimated at $73 million to $18 million for a series of renovations to address the most immediate needs like the emergency room.

Reynolds is right about getting the ball rolling. Leaders must decide now how to build a first-class hospital and find a way to fund the construction.