Bryant Hosts Health Care Economic Development Summit

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Jackson, Miss.
The Governor's Health Care Economic Development Summit i Jackson Thursday drew more than 700 people
from the health care and economic development sectors.

Gov. Phil Bryant says he wants to put more people to work and find better ways to them healthy. But he says all of them have the same goal, to put Mississippi ahead of the curve on health care economy.

“I'm not a doctor but I'm a mother of a special needs child,” said Connie Moran, the mayor of Ocean Springs.

Every day Moran sees her daughter face the same struggle as other Mississippians with disabilities.

“I am passionate about this,” Moran said.

As the state works to expand its health care network, Moran says she believes Gov. Phil Bryant's focus is off.

“It's very ironic that we're all focused. We all agree we want more health care business in the state of Mississippi," said Moran. "But yet we won't even afford our citizens access to affordable health care.”

Meanwhile, Bryant is continuing to set other goals, including adding 1,000 doctors in the state by 2015.

“Health care becomes an economic driver in Mississippi," said Bryant. "Oh, well, I don't know if we can do that. You know, there's so many factors that are involved there. Yes, we can, we thought.”

Bryant says the state should keep up with a steady beat of growth.

“As the baby boom comes of age, that market is going to be flooded with more need than capacity,” the governor said.

Some changes have already been made with the introduction of health care industry zones legislation last year.

“This is an industry of necessity," Bryant said. "We will have to at some point in our lives see a doctor, be in a hospital, need medical care. So it's not as if we have a choice this is going to happen.”

Health care zones provide incentives for businesses willing to locate within five miles of a major hospitals. And now rural communities are teaming together to get similar incentives for their areas.

One of the next steps will be to form a board that will focus solely on driving the state's health care economy.