BILOXI, Miss.–Expanding the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and adding 1,000 physicians to the state’s workforce are part of Gov. Phil Bryant’s vision for strengthening Mississippi’s economy by investing in health care.
During a three-stop tour today where he outlined his vision for growing the state’s health care economy and unveiled the findings of a new Blueprint Mississippi health care study, Bryant announced a funding award toward the expansion of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine.
“I am pleased to announce that the Mississippi Development Authority will award $10 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to UMMC to aid in the expansion of its School of Medicine,” Bryant said. “Mississippi needs more physicians, and we cannot wait any longer.”
Bryant wants the doctors who graduate in Mississippi to remain in Mississippi and earlier this year signed a measure to increase the number of medical residency programs in the state.
“Expanding our state’s medical residency programs will directly increase the number of physicians who remain in Mississippi to practice,” Bryant said.
“We also want to encourage these new doctors to practice in our medically underserved areas,” Bryant said. “We know that each new doctor creates a community economic impact of about $2 million. By bringing more doctors to Mississippi communities, we can improve the health of our bodies and our economies.”
Bryant is encouraging new development in the state’s larger medical regions through the Mississippi Health Care Industry Zone Act. The legislation, part of Bryant’s ‘Mississippi Works’ agenda, became law this year and provides incentives to certain health care-related businesses that locate in a certified health care zone.
“A successful health care industry in Mississippi will create jobs and build economic stability,” Bryant said.
Bryant first called for expansion of Mississippi’s health care economy in his inaugural State of the State address. In that address, Bryant discussed the need for Mississippi to foster a positive business environment for health care development, and he commissioned the Mississippi Economic Council to study the issue.
The resulting report, “Blueprint Mississippi Health Care: An Economic Driver”, was unveiled today and identifies ways to grow Mississippi’s health care economy and benefit the state in four key areas:
· Workforce development: a healthy, productive population enhances the prospects of business attraction, retention and growth.
· Quality of life: Accessible, affordable health care improves the lives of Mississippians and provides a better quality of place because of availability of quality services, as well as jobs and opportunities from all the facets of the health care system.
· Business sustainability: healthier workers will reduce lost time due to illness and will increase productivity, improving Mississippi’s competitiveness, growth and sustainability.
· Creation of economic wealth: growth of a statewide health care industry cluster and collaboration across this economic sector will contribute jobs and encourage wealth creation.
Bryant says the report’s goals align with his vision for the state.
“This study evaluates our health care economy’s strengths and weaknesses and provides a framework to help us further develop our growth strategies,” Bryant said.
Blake Wilson, President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council said Bryant’s leadership will help Mississippi realize success in expanding its health care economy.
“Governor Phil Bryant has already shown leadership in advancing this initiative,” Wilson said. “The recently passed Health Care Industry Zone Act and establishment of the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce are the first steps to realizing the goals of this study. Continued leadership of this type will be necessary for ongoing success.”
“Blueprint Mississippi Health Care: An Economic Driver” is funded entirely through a grant by the Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development Inc. and is coordinated through Blueprint Mississippi, an ongoing effort of the Mississippi Economic Council’s M.B. Swayze Foundation. The research was conducted by consulting firms Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and Subsidium Healthcare.
Download the report at: www.blueprintmississippi.com