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Dr. Jennifer Bryan discusses options to keep Mississippi hospitals open

Dr. Jennifer Bryan
Photo courtesy of Dr. Jennifer Bryan

With the recent news that over half of Mississippi’s hospitals are at risk of closing due to financial turmoil, one expert in the field believes there are options to help push medical facilities through the uphill battle.

Dr. Jennifer Bryan, former chairman of the Mississippi State Medical Association, expressed her concerns about the ramifications communities will face if they lose their regional hospitals. According to Bryan, once a medical facility completely shuts down, the domino effect spans from hospital employees losing their jobs to patients losing nearby access to healthcare.

“54 percent of our hospitals across the state are at risk. While I have typically advocated for physicians, physician practices, and patients, this affects all of us,” Bryan said on MidDays with Gerard Gibert. “If a hospital shuts down, then physicians are affected. They leave the community, the patients lose access — it’s all connected — and the jobs that are associated with it. The economic impact is profound, but the access to care, which is already so difficult in these trying medical times, is really alarming.”

Though there have been advocates for Medicaid expansion as a solution to rid the state of its current healthcare woes, Mississippi’s legislature has repeatedly rejected the idea. Nevertheless, Bryan believes there are other, non-Medicaid expansion, options to mitigate the damage being done in the state’s hospital systems.

“There are ways to expand access to coverage that are not expanding traditional medicaid, such as if we were to look at some of the federal dollars that have been available. We’re now one of 11 states who have not accepted those federal dollars,” Bryan noted. “There’s access to private insurance plans, like Arkansas has done. It provides competition in the insurance market. Monopoly effects seem to go away. Hospitals stay open.”

Bryan argues that potential solutions, such as the ones previously mentioned, can not only help keep Mississippi hospitals open, but will also reap financial rewards to the communities where local economies are in jeopardy due to the possible loss of revenue from the domino effect of a medical entity shutting its doors.

“All ideas are on the table of how we get through this, but I am very concerned about this 54 percent of hospitals that are at risk and what that means for physician practices,” Bryan added. “I want what’s fiscally responsible and what’s best. The economic boom is there with the healthcare jobs that are created, and we are on the bottom.”

The full interview with Dr. Bryan can be watched below.

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