Governor Proposes Medical Zones

In his State of the State speech, Gov. Phil Bryant focused on a variety of topics. One proposed idea is the establishment of medical zones across the state.

These zones would be centers for medical facilities and services that would provide healthcare coverage to Mississippians. It would cap income tax for physicians in under-served areas and provide economic incentives to encourage development of medical facilities.

With a large medical industry presence in our area,
what would the impact be from this proposal?

Bryant's proposal to create medical zones across the state should mean growth in the Meridian-Lauderdale County economy.

Lauderdale County is home to Anderson and Rush hospitals and several other medical facilities which make up some of the largest employers.

Other industries may be able to benefit from any incentives included in the governor's proposed legislation, which is drawn from the already- released Blueprint Mississippi.

"We will look through Blueprint at other initiatives in the state, and the governor's legislation with the incentives to construct and expand healthcare, at opportunities to grow that in east Mississippi," said Jones. "So we want to make sure that if there are opportunities and incentives through this legislation that the governor has proposed, that we as a community can take advantage of those."

To take advantage of any potential growth in the healthcare industry, those of us that make up the workforce must be prepared for the increased demand for healthcare laborers.

"I think, as in any industry sector, there will be opportunities for the region's population, for our labor force," Jones said. "Job opportunities in working in healthcare industry. But a big part in that is individuals preparing themselves, whether you're a high school student, whether you're unemployed, in the current workforce, or seeking a university education, you have to be prepared to enter that workforce, and bring value to that healthcare provider."

Jones also says that it will be up to hospital administrators how the workforce grows because they will be the ones deciding on expanding their hospitals.

The medical field is certainly big business in Meridian. Those three hospitals, Anderson North, Anderson South, and Rush, located within several blocks of one another, employ about 5,000 people total. Those numbers were compiled by the EMBDC.

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