HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. — The owner of Alliance Healthcare Systems, the hospital in Holly Springs, Mississippi, told WREG the facility is currently operating as a Rural Emergency Hospital despite a recent news report contradicting that.

The hospital is the state’s first to receive the designation, but a federal agency is now questioning whether the hospital should be considered rural or urban.

Dr. Kenneth Williams, an Internal Medicine Specialist in Holly Springs and CEO of Alliance Healthcare System, said the facility applied in January to be designated a Rural Emergency Hospital by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

“A Rural Emergency Hospital has no in-patients, okay? It is strictly an outpatient hospital,” Williams said. “The Federal Government should not be calling us an urban hospital when we are not an urban hospital. It seems like somebody should be able to figure that out.”

Williams said steps were taken to meet CMS criteria such as transferring all in-patients and drastically reducing staff and that his hospital was granted Rural Emergency designation until just a few days ago.

“They sent me a note two days ago and we had a discussion about it, but it was not rescinded. They said they had to look at it again,” he said.

Dr. Williams said CMS is reviewing a previous application.

“We had applied years ago to become a Critical Access Hospital but Memphis put our county and the county below us, Benton County, in their footprint,” he said.

Williams claims that “footprint” unfairly classifies Alliance as an urban hospital, not rural and, according to State standards, Alliance serves a rural community.

He said right now the hospital is open as a Rural Emergency facility and pending CMS’s review.

“Saving the Emergency Room, saving out-patient services is only a plus for this community, not a minus,” Williams said.

We’ve reached out to CMS for comment and status on the hospital’s designation. So far, we have not heard back.