The Senate has sent a bill to the Governor’s desk that would create a facility for children in need of long-term care, the first of its kind in Mississippi.
In his State of the State Address, Governor Bryant discussed the potential for a palliative care facility at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, and today, the Senate helped the facility take its next step toward being built.
Currently, the hospital houses five children that require long-term care, but it is not designed for that purpose which has created the need for the palliative care facility. Along with the Governor, this project has been strongly supported by First Lady Deborah Bryant.
“With the leadership of the First Lady, UMMC and the Department of Human Services, we will soon begin construction on a long-term palliative care unit in Jackson’s medical zone,” Gov. Bryant stated. “The center will offer a home-like treatment facility for the medically fragile children who are now living at Batson. This will be a life-altering experience for those patients and their families.”
The bill passed through the Senate much quicker than it did through the House earlier in the session. The lengthy debate on the House floor centered around the location of the building, which will be on seven acres of state-owned property on Lakeland Drive, east of I-55. The original site was going to be in a renovated Cavalry Baptist Church on W. Capitol Street in Jackson.
Several Representatives expressed their disappointment that the site was going to be moved from the original location, but Chairman of the House Public Property Committee Tom Weathersby stated that the decision came down to the cost of the project.
While the debate became heated at times, Weathersby called for all lawmakers to remember the true reason for the facility rather than focusing on the politics behind it.
“More than being a great benefit to the city of Jackson, it will be a great benefit to these children that need to be moved,” Weathersby said. “I hope that as we talk about this bill, that we consider to think about the needs of these children as much as we think about where we are going to put this building.”
The bill passed through the Senate by a final vote total of 49:8.
No completion date for the project has been given, but it was stated that the company is ready to break ground as soon as they receive approval.