EMSH Hosts Lawmakers

East Mississippi State Hospital hosted state legislators Tuesday to show how state funding is being used and make a case for future funding.

EMSH director Charles Carlisle says the annual budget is usually around $65 million. But he says the mental health facility is asking for an additional $24 million in bond money for the next fiscal year to build two new receiving units.

He said that would make it possible for East Mississippi to be accredited and have the ability to bill Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurance for services.

"If we'd have built the receiving unit when they first asked for it, it wouldn't cost as much as it does now," said Sen. Videt Carmichael. "But the thing I got today was that if we're going to get $4 million extra, I say extra, an extra $4 million coming in to this hospital if we had the receiving unit, in six years what we're asking for will be paid for."

"The $24 million, if we invested that, we'd save $4 million a year of state money," said Rep. Johnny Stringer. "So you know, that's a pretty smart investment. We should come up with that $24 million."

Stringer says Mississippi will likely have slow growth again in 2012. But he says the state is $66 million above estimates for this fiscal year so far. He said the previous fiscal year ended with only half a million dollars of leeway.

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