Unfortunately, access to care is becoming a great challenge in our state. We’ve seen this with many of our rural hospital closures, emergency department closures and the difficult challenges that many hospitals across our state, both rural and urban are facing. This coverage gap affects uncompensated care costs at Mississippi hospitals.
Uncompensated care costs in Mississippi are exceeding $600 million dollars annually in our state. Mississippi is among the highest ranked in the country in medical debt. Not because our costs are too high – we rank in the bottom third in the country for health care expenditures per person – rather it’s because our need for healthcare is so great and our means to pay for that needed care is so low.
Mississippi leads the country in healthcare in all the wrong categories. We lead the country in rates of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. We have high prevalence rates of cancer and obesity. These bad health outcomes coupled with our economic conditions create significant challenges for both patients and healthcare providers.
Not only will this proposal help Mississippians access the healthcare they need when they need it, but it will also help sustain access to hospital care – particularly in our rural areas. We believe that this proposal will reduce uncompensated care costs by 40-50%, thereby strengthening our rural hospitals and also benefiting our urban hospitals.
Most importantly, we believe that this proposal will result in a healthier and more productive workforce.