JANS – On October 9, 2023, State Rep. Zakiya Summers and healthcare professionals sent warnings of hospital depredation as Tate Reeves refuses to expand Medicaid. In June, St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson closed its entire behavioral health unit, laying off 157 workers – the psychiatric beds at nearby hospitals became full. Last month, the CDC released a report that Mississippi’s suicide rate has reached its highest level in 20 years.
Unfortunately, St. Dominic’s Hospital is not the only healthcare facility that has been forced to make some very difficult decisions. In South Jackson, Merit Hospital has moved the majority of its services out of the city of Jackson, but this is not a problem unique to the city. In September, four more hospitals announced plans to end inpatient care.
According to Rep. Summers, Mississippi state health officials have equated this move to a hospital closure because “when key services are lost, communities lose access to that care. And the effects are far-reaching, putting Mississippians and entire communities at risk.”For areas with high concentrations of Black Mississippians, like Jackson and up in the Delta, this issue is exacerbated.
“People are suffering,” says Rep. Summers. [The hospital crisis] has been a failure of the administration. The fact of the matter is that mamas are dying and when they are trying to have babies, babies are not making it to their first year birthday. This should never really be a partisan issue. This is a human rights issue. If Mississippi is going to be all that it can be, the hospitality state, the Magnolia State, if we want a good economy in the state of Mississippi, people gotta be healthy in order to go to work. You can’t go to work sick.”
“We have some solutions, but Tate Reeves has decided not to use those solutions,” said Teresa Roberts, Registered Nurse. “We deserve better. Mississippi healthcare is in a major crisis and because we deserve better I stand here in support of Brandon Presley for our next governor because he is looking out for what the people of Mississippi need.”
“We can all agree that the value of healthcare access in Mississippi cannot be underestimated. Yet, under our current administration, we are watching hospitals and medical facilities lay off hundreds of workers; dozens are on the brink of closure. Women and babies are dying,” stressed Summers. “Congenital syphilis has spiked through the roof. Mississippians are losing their lives because they cannot get to a hospital in time to receive critical care. Mississippi should not be in last place for health outcomes.
“We can do better. We have to do better. On day one, Brandon Presley will expand Medicaid and provide healthcare for 220,000 working Mississippians.”