Hancock medical entices physicians - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hancock medical entices physicians

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Hancock Medical Center wants to bring more doctors to the area who offer specialized services. The hospital lost several doctors after hurricane Katrina. Leaders now hope by having office space available to them they can attract more specialty practice physicians.

President of the Hancock Medical Center Foundation Board Clarice Gustin said, "You cannot ask a doctor to come to Hancock County and serve the people here without having the proper facilities and equipment that they would need."

The latest building purchased by Hancock Medical Center's Foundation Board now houses physical therapy services as well as two podiatrists.

Hospital Administrator Hal Leftwich said, "Most hospitals are kind of land locked, and it's always hard to expand because other people own the land around you. Secondly, you can be much more flexible with property you own. And thirdly it means you don't have to pay rent on those buildings."

Troy Pepperman is the director of Physical Therapy.

"That frees up money to be used for equipment for patient care," Pepperman said.

A couple of months ago the foundation added a two acre piece of land located behind the hospital to the campus as well as a building just across the street.

Tom Carlton with Hancock Medical Center said, "It currently houses Doctor Roe Crowder, an internal medicine specialist, and a hospice agency. And it has room for one other medical practice."

The hope is to bring the medical staff back to pre-Katrina numbers.

"In terms of hurricane Katrina to five years later, our medical staff is really more like 90 to 95 percent recovered," Leftwich said.

Re-gaining the remaining five percent will mean having space ready for them.

"We can now recruit more specialists. I believe an oncology group will be starting here soon," Leftwich said. "Having the ability to move offices around to accommodate more people in them is very helpful in terms of recruiting and planning for the future."

So far the hospital's foundation has spent million's of dollars purchasing land, buildings and equipment for Hancock Medical Center.

The Foundation generated the money through a series of fundraisers.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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