Mississippi's medical, business and insurance leaders are partnering with the governor to turn the state into a major player in the healthcare industry. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Some 600 people at the Jackson Convention Complex are getting a progress report on the governor's healthcare economic development plan. The goal is to make the healthcare industry an economic driver for the state. Dr. Clay Hays chairs the Mississippi Healthcare Solutions Institute, created to oversee the strategic plan.
"One was the expansion of the medical school class size, which we did from 100 to 160," said Hays.
Hays says they've created healthcare zones statewide to provide tax incentives for medical businesses to expand. He says they're working the list, including expanding the children's hospital in Jackson, and recruiting 1,000 new physicians by 2025. Governor Phil Bryant touts the state's progress.
"Brand new medical school in Jackson, a new school of otheopathic medicine in Hattiesburg, about three years old now, a new medical city at Traditions, only the second new pharmacy school opening with William Carey," said Bryant.
A primary concern is access to healthcare and containing costs. Mississippi is spending $3.5 billion per year to treat both obesity and diabetes. American Medical Association President Dr. Barbara McAneny spoke at the governor's summit. She says early intervention is cheaper and saves lives.
"If you don't have access to that, then you end up being a customer of the healthcare system when you need dialysis or you've had a heart attack or you've had to have a limp amputated," said McAneny.
The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is creating a diabetes and obesity research center in Harrison County. This is the second Governor's Health Care Economic Development Summit.