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‘Crisis Mode’: As Hospitals Close, Mississippi Lawmakers Mull ‘Band-Aid’ Fixes

The Mississippi Legislature will address the state’s ongoing hospital closures, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn said in press interviews on Tuesday as the legislative session began.

At a press conference in November last year, House Democratic Leader Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, highlighted the dire situation in Mississippi.”[T]he state’s only burn center has closed,” he said.

“The only neonatal intensive care unit in the Delta has closed. A Jackson hospital that serves rural portions of Hinds County is reducing critical services to stay afloat. Greenwood Leflore Hospital itself is on life support, staying open only with the help of the City and County putting up money to keep it from closing its doors for good.” The City of Greenwood and Leflore County jointly own the facility.

Hosemann, who is president of the Mississippi Senate, said Tuesday during a press conference that he recently visited Greenwood Leflore Hospital, noting that it has cut some health services, including obstetrics and gynecology.

“I was impressed with what they’re trying to do, but unfortunately, they’re going to lose $20 million this year,” he told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. “So they’ve scaled down, and they’re still losing $20 million.”

“It looks to me that we’re going to have to have some interim step,” Hosemann added. “I’ll refer to it as a ‘Band-Aid’ until such time as we can make longer-term decisions about health care in Mississippi and what is going to be provided. We’re in a crisis mode here in the short term, but that shouldn’t dictate our long-term solutions.”

Medical Leaders Call For Medicaid Expansion

In November, Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Daniel Edney told lawmakers that 38 rural hospitals, or about 54% of all rural hospitals in the state, could collapse.

In a press release Tuesday morning, the Mississippi State Medical Association said hospitals are failing because the State has failed to expand Medicaid, citing a “sizable gap that exists for working Mississippians who cannot afford private insurance, yet whose income is too much to qualify for Mississippi Medicaid.”

At a press conference in November 2022, Mississippi House Democratic

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