HOSPITALS & RURAL HEALTH

OVERVIEW

Hospitals area crucial part of any state’s health system, especially rural states like Mississippi. The Center has published on topics ranging from rural hospitals to implementing and sustaining Mississippi’s trauma system.

Sustaining Mississippi’s Trauma Care System: Funding Considerations

In 2008, the Mississippi Legislature enacted HB 1405, providing a steady funding stream to support the state’s trauma care system. The Center has been tracking the state’s progress on developing a trauma system and in 2007 we published our first report covering the barriers to developing our system. (link to the Mississippi trauma care system life saving care is no accident) Also published in 2007 was a report (link to the Mississippi Trauma Care Task Force final report) by the Mississippi Trauma Care Task Force covering an update to the status of the system. In 2016 the Mississippi State Board of Health formed the Task Force for Trauma and EMS funding Needs which later that year delivered a report to the State Board of Health. Much of the success of Mississippi’s system is derived from a stable funding structure established in statute. However, periodic statutory changes have threatened to weaken this structure.

Why this is important:

  • At the time of enactment of the 2008 law, it was projected that the new assessments and fees would generate over $30 million in additional revenue, which could be added to the $8 million already deposited annually in the Trauma Care Systems Fund. Collections, however, have been less than estimated, averaging about 60 percent of the authorized amount from 2009 to 2016.
  • During the 2016 regular legislative session, the Mississippi Legislature amended some of the state funding mechanisms that affected the trauma and emergency medical services (EMS) systems (Mississippi Code § 99-19-73) by redirecting certain fees and assessments from the trauma and EMS funds to the State General Fund. The total amount redirected is approximately $9 million annually.
  • The key to sustaining the system is maintaining a stable source of funding.

Rural Hospitals: Economic and Health Implications in Mississippi

Since 2010, 58 rural hospitals have closed nationally, mostly in the South, including two in Mississippi.  Another 283 hospitals nationwide have been identified as “vulnerable,” with 22 of those in Mississippi.  As a percentage of all rural hospitals in the state, Mississippi has the highest proportion of its rural hospitals classified as “vulnerable.” In a recent report by Navigant Consulting, 48% of Mississippi’s rural hospitals were rated as a high financial risk.

Why this is important:

  • The economic impact analysis determined that the closure of all nine “most at risk” hospitals would lead to a loss of an estimated 2,600 jobs, approximately $8.6 million in state and local tax revenue, and a total economic impact of $289.2 million.
  • Often the strategies employed are focused on increasing revenue to improve the hospital’s financial condition, which may or may not be consistent with meeting the key health care needs of the community.
  • Better alignment of economic and health incentives would help hospitals adapt more effectively.

PUBLICATIONS

Copies of the issue briefs, chartbooks, and reports can be downloaded here. All information is free to download. Printed copies of all documents are available by contacting the Center for Mississippi Health Policy at 601-709-2133 or by e-mail at info@mshealthpolicy.com.

Issue Briefs:

reports:

Journal Article: