Like many states in the nation, Mississippi is under a hospital crisis. The reasons for the crisis are many, but the single greatest reason is that we are a state with few funds and many unhealthy citizens. Combining this with low profit margins and increasing cost burdens for operations, it is no wonder why most Mississippi hospitals are designated as “at risk” for financial constraints or closures.
Mississippi has already lost six hospitals for full closure and six to bankruptcies. Closures include Newton, Kilmichael, Belzoni, Natchez, Marks, and Senatobia. Bankruptsies include Batesville (twice), Natchez, Clarksdale, Amory and Magee.
But, there are solutions that will help our facilities. Most of these solutions were found through efforts of the Governor’s Rural Health Task Force, which convened in 2019 and produced a report with policy and legislative recommendations to assist all rural entities, including hospitals. The recommendations were numerous, which well reflects the numerous issues that our facilities face. These solutions primarily help with funding formulas, new funding pools for infrastructure, and increased access and efficiency.
Another positive solution comes from the Mississippi Hospital Association in the form of the Mississippi Cares plan. This plan would utilize Medicaid funding and create a new provider-based insurance plan for low income citizens. This would help to reduce uncompensated care and increase the insured rate of Mississippians.
Together, these solutions will help to solve our rural health crisis and help to support our rural hospitals. Mississippi faces the same issues as other states, but being a poor state with low profit margins, we can’t afford to be wrong about the future of our healthcare.