DHS & Medical Legislation Benefits Coast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/08/03

DHS & Medical Legislation Benefits Coast

Those who work with abused and neglected kids pleaded with the Mississippi legislature to find money to hire more social workers, particularly in Harrison and DeSoto Counties. The legislature came up with a million dollars. One lawmaker says he wants the money to go where it's needed most.

"I'm not sure we're getting a fair shake even today but I'm gonna find out whether or not we are and what we can do about it because we have definitely been discriminated against when it comes to getting social workers here in Harrison County," Representative Roger Ishee said.

Representative Jim Simpson agrees the money does need to be spent correctly and he says the legislature's united effort is a major victory.

"It's fortunate that we got it done and it's embarrassing that it got that way. I don't know how the state department let us get in such dire straits to get in that position," Simpson said.

Lawmakers were also able to do something about the medical malpractice insurance crisis. They created a state pool so doctors can get insurance, but Simpson and Ishee says the coverage still isn't affordable.

"The issue is what else can we do to fix it and that's something' we'll studying this year and trying' to help some of these doctors because it's not just an availability issue but it's an affordability problem as well," Simpson said.

"That's one of the things we may have to go back and take a close look at...make sure someone somewhere can get the affordable insurance for our doctors especially our specialists," Ishee said.

Legislators may not have entirely solved the social worker and medical insurance problems, but Simpson and Ishee say at least lawmakers gave immediate relief to crisis situations.

byMarcia Hill

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