Over two weeks have passed since Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg officially closed its behavioral health unit, joining the dozens of hospitals across the state that are announcing closures and layoffs.
The hospital transferred 50 beds to Merit Health Central Mississippi in Jackson in late June, requiring patients admitted to River Region to travel over 30 miles to receive mental health services.
“While the distance is further for Vicksburg/Warren County patients, (patients) will receive treatment in a newer facility, and this increases our overall capacity to provide critically needed behavioral health services for the region,” Merit Health officials stated.
St. Dominic Memorial Hospital in Jackson also announced the closure of all behavioral health services a little over one month ago, as well as layoffs to 5.5 percent of its workforce.
In late March, Alliance Healthcare System in Holly Springs released plans to end all inpatient care as only a handful of patients are served daily despite the hospital being licensed to hold 40 beds.
At this time, Merit Health Central is almost finished with its 10-month-long endeavor to consolidate several mental health services, including the adult, adolescent, and chemical dependency units.
The hospital’s Vicksburg location will be accepting patients in need of adolescent and geriatric behavioral services until the end of the month. After August 1, Merit Health River Region will begin transitioning all geriatric mental health services to the hospital’s main campus.