Business News for the Mississippi Delta

Iris Stacker

Chief Executive Officer of Delta Health System By Becky Gillette  •  Photography by Johnny Jennings Delta Health System Chief Executive Officer Iris Yeldell Stacker started working at her father’s medical practice when she was only about fifteen. At age sixteen, her father told her she needed “a real job” working at the hospital, which was then known as the Delta Regional Medical Center (DRMC). She got a job as a tray girl in the cafeteria. “The second year the cafeteria was being refurbished and we had to cook at a local school and bring the meals to the hospital,” says Stacker. “I was doing that with friends, and we got the van dirty. It attracted flies. They made us clean out maggots. I was once cleaning out maggots and now I am the CEO.” Stacker has more than forty years of experience in healthcare and was vice president and system compliance officer at Delta Health System prior to being made interim CEO in July 2022 when the former CEO resigned. “At the time, we knew we were having some financial difficulty but didn’t know how bad it was,” says Stacker. “We had tremendous expenses relating to higher costs for Covid and a great deal of uncompensated care. We had added two additional hospitals to our system, the Highland Hills Medical Center in Senatobia and Northwest Regional in Clarksdale. The concept for the Mississippi Delta was that we felt if we could band facilities together, we would be in a stronger, better contracting position and be able to reduce costs.” What they did not foresee was the effects and after effects of Covid. On top of that, Delta Health System—like most hospitals–was having issues with inadequate managed care reimbursements. Another factor was that Mississippi had not accepted the Medicaid expansion to help provide healthcare coverage for low-income people. “Then we were also faced with having to pay back advanced payments that Medicare had given us for Covid and, at that time, we didn’t have the money readily available,” says Stacker. “We ended fiscal 2022 with a $29 million loss.” They went into an “all systems go” response, banding their team together

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