Ascentium takes reins from Pioneer

The Federal Court System has approved the acquisition of Pioneer Health Services by Lackey Memorial Hospital of Forest. 

The newly formed company, Ascentium Healthcare Resources, will finalize the deal on December 31 and will open for business on January 2, according to Sydney Sawyer, chief executive officer for Lackey Hospital. 

Ascentium will be a division of Lackey Hospital.  The bid represented a cash bid for assets in the amount of $175,000, new contracts and additional vendors. 

The best news to come from all of this is that  between 50 and 60 professional paying positions  will still remain in Simpson County after Pioneer declared volunteer bankruptcy in 2016.  According to Sawyer the estimated payroll is approximately $2.4 million annually. 

Sawyer said that the business will relocate to the original building in Magee, which is owned by Trustmark Bank and is being leased by Lackey.  He said their eventual goal is for Ascentium to be able to purchase the building from Trustmark. 

According to Sawyer, this is a good move not only for Lackey but also for Pioneer because they have had a relationship that dates back to 1989. 

Sawyer has served in the position as CEO for Lackey for the past two years.  Prior to that he served as director of nursing for Lackey for 15 years.  Lackey is a 25-bed critical access facility. 

Pioneer has the expertise to help Lackey with collections as well as billing specializing in large healthcare governmental claims. 

Sawyer said they will maintain many existing accounts that Pioneer is currently servicing to include Tippah County as well as other accounts.  This, according to Sawyer, is good for Lackey because it provides a needed service to their organization which would otherwise have cost as much to start as it did to acquire. 

Sawyer said they intended to stabilize the workforce as the transition had been an unnerving process for everyone involved. 

Their goals also included growing the billing and collecting side over the next year with a goal of adding two new client facilities which would allow them to grow the staff by approximately 10 positions.  He said the most gratifying part of the entire process was the fact they were able to save jobs in the Magee market. 

Pioneer filed volunteer bankruptcy in March of 2016 and has come under the direction of the Federal Court System.