A bill that would provide a home for children that are medically fragile passed in the House. The children that would live in the home are currently living their lives at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.
The project has been in the works for several years and for a time Calvary Baptist Church was considering using their old church building and remodeling it into a palliative care facility for the children. It was during this time that Governor Phil Bryant and his wife Deborah became advocates for the project.
“These children may not have lived to be 18 a decade ago, and now we think that their lives can be extended another decade, but they are in the most expensive… hospital room in the state of Mississippi, living each and every day, and what they would like is something that appears to be a home,” Bryant said.
However, there was some dispute among House members as to where the facility should be built. Previously, there was discussion that the home would be built on state owned land in Hinds County, but the current proposal now has the facility moved out of Hinds County and into the Jackson city limits.
Representative Tom Weathersby addressed Representative Alice Clarke of Hinds during the floor debate saying that the facility would not be built in her district.
“I just don’t understand why it is when it appears that you can get something in the area, somebody comes up with a reason that you don’t need it in that area,” said Representative Clarke.
For reasoning behind not building the facility in Hinds County, Representative Weathersby said that the area was “not safe.”
“If you’re going to take it, put it where it’s supposed to go, don’t start making comments like, ‘well we are going to put it out there where they are going to be safe at,” said Representative Adrienne Wooten.
The construction and the maintenance of the building would put no burden upon the taxpayers. Representative Weathersby added that the funds to build the facility would come from a non-profit, Palladium Care, and that creation of the facility would actually lessen the cost of taking care of the children as Medicaid would step in if the facility comes to fruition.
There are currently five patients that would be moved to the home, however, there are several others across the state that would be able to move into the facility as well.
“Let’s get this done ladies and gentlemen, there are people out there that are spending their lives, day to day, every day, in a hospital room,” said Representative Mark Baker. “I’d ask you to set aside the rhetoric and think about the day that they live. Confined to wheelchairs, having to have trach tubes, having to have special equipment and things done just so they can live on a daily basis, and think about the fact that every day they go to bed in a hospital room and they wake up in a hospital room.”
The bill ended up passing the House with 74 representatives voting for the bill and 39 against it and the legislation will now head over to the Senate for consideration.