Chickasaw County closer to getting an Emergency Room

Bill signed by Gov. Tate Reeves allows a freestanding ER in up to five counties

CHICKASAW COUNTY, MISS. (WCBI) – A Northeast Mississippi county that has been without an Emergency Room since 2014 may soon get one.

“To be honest with you, I don’t care who it is that comes in the county, I want someone who takes a vested interest in Chickasaw County and wants to open an emergency room and provide for our citizens,” said State Sen. Ben Suber, District 8.

Efforts to get an emergency room in Chickasaw County have been underway since 2014.  That decision was made because there weren’t enough patients with insurance to offset services provided to those who were underinsured or had no insurance.

Senator Suber helped get a bill passed this legislative session, that was just signed by Governor Tate Reeves.  It allows the Department of Health to issue licenses to no more than five counties to build free-standing emergency rooms that would not be attached to a hospital.  Those counties would have to be at least fifteen miles from the nearest ER.

“We have numerous parties interested in opening an emergency room in Chickasaw County, very excited about this,” Suber said.

Trace Regional has a clinic and CEO Sheila Brockman says it would welcome a partnership to bring a freestanding ER to the county.  But applications aren’t yet available from the Department of Health.

District 22 Representative Jon Lancaster says everyone realizes Chickasaw County is in dire need of an ER.  The county is served by two ambulances, one in Houston, and the other in Okolona.

“Anywhere you go to the nearest ER is at least thirty miles and we have good  911, service, good ambulance service, but if they’re on a call, you don’t have the option to jump in a car and get the help you need, and with this, we’re hoping to bring that peace of mind to Houston community,” said Rep. Lancaster.

Houston Mayor Stacy Parker was not available for an on-camera interview but he did tell us, for the first time in years, that he is truly optimistic Chickasaw County will have an emergency room in the near future.

Senator Suber said a study showed there were at least 11 counties statewide that didn’t have an ER.



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