JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State Senate unveiled plans on Wednesday to provide some relief to struggling rural hospitals across the state.
Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann announced four separate proposals addressing the ongoing healthcare crisis in the state.
Among them is a grant program that would distribute $80 million to struggling hospitals. Also, there is a bill that would allow for hospitals to collaborate and consolidate on delivery of healthcare.
The largest rural hospital in the country resides in Senator Chad McMahan’s district. According to McMahan, the input from North Mississippi Medical Center has been vital in putting together the legislation.
“North Mississippi Medical Center, being the largest rural hospital in America, has had a lot of input into the legislation that’s here in Mississippi. They’re also considered a rural hospital even though they have 8,800 employees. What’s going to be good for this hospital system is going to be good for the other rural hospital systems throughout the state. We’re going to have a healthy debate here on the floor today, I believe, and we’re going to come up with the best way to strengthen health care,” he said.
“We are happy to see that it’s a priority and we would like the same level of priority coming from the House side as well as the governor’s office. But they’ve all mentioned the importance of health care and quality access to care. We’re looking for those discussions to take place. I’m sure if you ask the hospital in Greenwood or Delta Regional in Greenville, they’d like those grant programs to open up as quickly as possible to keep things going,” said Dr. John Cross, Mississippi State Medical Association President.
The Senate also proposed incentives like student debt repayments for nursing students and grant programs for medical schools.