Medical zones set to happen in Mississippi - - The News for South Mississippi

Medical zones set to happen in Mississippi

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Lawmakers are expected to soon lay the foundation for a new approach to medical care and development through several pieces of legislation making their way through the capitol.  

"This is a new nitch if you will, within the medical industry that no other state is taking advantage of. If we are ahead of this and I think we will be, it could be phenomenal," said Governor Phil Bryant.

The legislation is being pushed by Bryant who says it's a way to use healthcare as a target for economic development. The plan is to set up medical zones across the state anchored by facilities with more than 375 hospital beds. By establishing a five mile radius around those facilities, the hope is to attract medical businesses like advanced manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.

Those businesses would be required to invest at least $10 million and create at least 25 new full time jobs. The businesses would then be eligible for tax breaks and state assistance for infrastructure.  

"Just imagine what we could do with this type of effort to go out and be able to market something no one else has to encourage, to incentivize businesses to come in to those medical zones," said Bryant.

Bryant says that would mean medical care for Mississippians like never before. That's good news to Dr. David Powe, Chief Administrative Officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

"What it does is really enhances access to healthcare throughout the state of Mississippi," said Powe.

Hospitals already have a nearly $12 billion a year impact on Mississippi. By placing cutting edge medical technology in the state's back yard, Powe says it would serve as a vital lifeline for other development.  

"The economic driver that this creates is that we can better attract others to the state of Mississippi to provide support for healthcare or just bring business and industry wanting to locate here because of the improvement of the quality of life," said Powe.

By blending industry and medicine Bryant says it's crucial to at least give those potential medical businesses a reason to call Mississippi home.

"I think we're going to grow what I call this industry of necessity, that medical industry in to something that creates jobs and grows the economy in Mississippi," said Bryant.

If passed, the Zone Act would take affect June 30th. Governor Bryant says the state would start marketing itself immediately to begin attracting those businesses.

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