Mississippi considers easing public hospital restrictions

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Senate voted Friday to ease some restrictions on community-owned hospitals by letting them consolidate or collaborate with healthcare amenities outdoors their present service areas.

Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane, of Sumrall, mentioned the invoice is an effort to take care of entry to well being care in a state the place a number of hospitals face monetary difficulties as a result of they serve massive numbers of uninsured sufferers.

“There’s all types of boundaries that we’re making an attempt to eradicate to permit these hospitals to have as a lot flexibility as they’ll so as survive and thrive,” Fillingane mentioned.

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Beneath present state legislation, government-owned group hospitals should not allowed to function outdoors of service areas which might be established once they first open, he mentioned. These areas are usually restricted by metropolis or county boundaries, or barely past. Eradicating some boundaries would permit these hospitals to consolidate or to work collectively by sharing some enterprise capabilities, Fillingane mentioned.

Senators voted 48-0 to go the invoice, sending it to the Home for extra work.

The state well being officer, Dr. Dan Edney, informed legislators in November that 54% of Mississippi’s rural hospitals are vulnerable to closing due to monetary strain. Mississippi has a lot of uninsured residents, and well being care amenities have confronted rising bills through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agricultural, impoverished Delta has misplaced inhabitants over the previous a number of years, and a few hospitals in that space have been curbing companies and slicing jobs.

Mississippi is without doubt one of the poorest states and has excessive charges of coronary heart illness, diabetes and different illnesses. Additionally it is among the many 11 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid to folks working low-wage jobs that do not present personal medical insurance. Enlargement is an choice underneath the federal well being care legislation signed in 2010 by former President Barack Obama.

Legislative Democrats have mentioned Mississippi is dropping about $1 billion of federal cash every year by refusing Medicaid enlargement. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has publicly opposed placing extra folks on the medical insurance program that’s funded by state and federal governments.

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