By Ryan Kelly –
I had an opportunity recently to visit the new UMMC Community Care Clinic in Belzoni, MS. Dr. Tonya Moore, a huge driver in the creation of this clinic, provided a guided tour for me through the facility.
The facility was previously used to house the MSU Extension Center in Humphreys County (which has now been moved next door), and the building was completely renovated using largely USDA grant funds to provide what certainly appears to be a completely new look and feel. The clinic has beautiful furniture, bright, clean colors, and excellent equipment highlighted by a top-of-the-line x-ray machine.
Naturally, this clinic is connected back to the main campus using state-of-the-art telehealth connectivity. Tele-urgent services allow the clinic staff to triage patients and connect for additional consultation with Category B and C calls – those being calls that are more urgent in nature. Such could include a gun shot wound or chest pain of unknown origin. The tele-urgent call will allow a physician from the main campus to diagnose and help treat the patient until an ambulance arrives.
This clinic opened on July 16, 2018 and maintains a daily census of 10-20 patients. The clinic is led by Jorri Davis, FNP-C and a small team of experienced providers/staff. Notable about the clinic’s staff is that they are all from the Mississippi Delta. This certainly shows a direct connection to the efforts to better train and employ local providers in our rural communities, and it ties-in well to the Governor’s recent Healthcare Economic Development Summit which showed the financial impact of a quality healthcare facility to a community.
One surprising feature of the clinic is not just the urgent care side, but that it also houses a large educational classroom and fitness center. The classroom will be available for both UMMC-led training as well as health-related classes for local citizens. The fitness center will be staffed by a personal trainer and will be soon open to the community for a small monthly fee.
I firmly believe that rural Mississippi is gaining strength from efforts like this. With the establishment of new clinics like this and the constant improvements in both quality care and infrastructure of our existing clinics and hospitals, Mississippi’s rural health status is improving!