EDITORIAL: Our hospital needs community’s support

By SPECIAL TO THE PRESS REGISTER,

The news this week by CHS/ Merit Health and Coahoma County Supervisors that they have a lease may finally put to rest rumors and concerns that Northwest Mississippi Medical Center in Clarksdale will close.

The bankruptcy of Curae in 2018 sent a shiver down the back of this community. Doctors, nurses, medical technicians and staff were even led to believe they might not get paid.

Healthcare is the Number Two employer in this county, providing 1,540 jobs in 2019. Healthcare is a major industry in Coahoma County.

It has been estimated that almost half of the state’s 64 rural hospitals are at risk of closing or at least not profitable.

It would be easy to talk federal healthcare programs and the state turning down Medicaid expansion. We will just say rural healthcare in this country is changing and our leaders need to vigilant and our community needs to support our hospital.

Your Clarksdale Press Register believes we have leaders who are watching and working to keep our hospital viable.

When payroll got tight last year, Coahoma County stepped in and with a rainy-day fund of more than $30 million earmarked for healthcare in this community, and tided our hospital over until a new agreement could be signed with CHS.

It is obvious past leaders had a vision for protecting our hospital and made plans - in the form of a lucrative lease - to ensure a hospital would be available to this community.

Leadership has done their part.

Now it is up to the community to do their part.

We urge those in need of healthcare to shop Clarksdale first. Sure, if you need a specialist in Memphis or Oxford, go and get well. But please consider local doctors and our local hospital first.

CHS/Merit Health and Coahoma County have come a long way in over 18 months. Many things have changed and this newspaper would like to focus on the positive and a future that looks so much better.

Hospital Administrator Joel Southern may have said it best.

“A critical part of being a sustainable healthcare organization is keeping resources focused on patient care,” Southern said. “We appreciate the Coahoma County Board of Supervisor’s consideration of our request for projects to reduce the lease.”

We are proud of our new hospital managers, our supervisors and our community. Let’s look ahead, wholeheartedly support our hospital and watch our community grow.

 

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Johnnie Samuel Hale, Jr., 91, born Nov. 6, 1928, died at his home in Detroit, Mich., April 4, 2020.