Four bills pending in Senate committees are aimed at helping stabilize hospitals and growing the healthcare workforce in Mississippi. Chief among them is Senate Bill 2372, authored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R-Southaven), which creates a program to provide $80 million in grants to hospitals based on a number of licensed beds and care.
The legislation also requires recipient hospitals to submit a report detailing their patient census, medical services offered, and other information to the Department of Health to allow the state and healthcare facilities to better plan for the future of the industry.
In other bills, Sen. Joey Fillingane is proposing long-term solutions for the structure of community hospitals and Senators David Parker and Rita Parks are addressing healthcare workforce shortages.
“Mississippians should have access to affordable, quality healthcare, and our hospitals across the state are a critical part of this network,” Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said. “The proposed funding is short-term, but these bills also are the beginning of a thoughtful, candid conversation about the delivery of healthcare in our state.”
Aside from the stabilization grant program, other legislation includes:
- Senate Bill 2373: A hospital nurse loan repayment program awarding new nurses who agree to work in a Mississippi hospital up to $6,000 each year for three years (total of $18,000) toward any outstanding loan debt.
- Senate Bill 2371: A grant for community college nursing and allied health programs. Community college recipients which have waitlists may use funds on equipment, infrastructure, curricula, or other expenses geared toward increasing capacity in nursing or allied health training programs.
- Senate Bill 2371: A hospital residency and fellowship grant providing start-up costs to create new or add capacity in existing programs in medical or surgical specialty areas at Mississippi hospitals. Physicians and surgeons who serve their residency or fellowship in the state are much more likely to remain here after the program concludes. Hospitals may use funds on equipment, infrastructure, curricula, or other initial expenses.
- Senate Bill 2323: Legislation allowing community hospitals to collaborate and consolidate facilities and services with non-profit or other similar entities.