Congratulations are in order for the newly formed group, the East Central Mississippi Healthcare Network, or for short the EC Healthnet.
The group, which is designed to improve healthcare in Newton, Neshoba Kemper and Clarke Counties has been awarded a federal grant for $100,000. Officials with the group say the money will be used to provide free healthcare resource guides to residents and conduct economic impact studies and surveys.
In coming weeks representatives from Mississippi State University will begin the telephone surveys. As part of this effort they will call residents in Kemper, Neshoba, Newton and Clarke counties and ask them questions about how they view the quality of healthcare in their respective areas. All residents are asked to cooperate because after all, healthcare officials say in the end, it will help the residents.
"In June the results from the surveys and the economic impact studies will be presented in workshops in each of the communities," says Tim Thomas with the EC Healthnet. "For these workshops we will bring in all different segments of the community in terms of businesses and officials from the Chamber of Commerce and we'll sell them on what we found."
As for the free directories, Thomas says they should be available sometime this summer. He says they will all of the healthcare providers in each respective county and will be dispersed to residents.
Meanwhile, he says the EC Healthnet is planning to apply for an additional three-year grant this fall, which will actually fund the plans that will be developed from the studies that are now underway.
We'll keep you posted.