New Picayune hospital opens to public - - The News for South Mississippi

New Picayune hospital opens to public

Picayune's new Highland Community Hospital officially opened its doors for the very first time in an open house event Sunday afternoon, inviting the public to head inside and take a look at the facility that's been called a 'quantum leap' for local healthcare.

"As a mayor and as a citizen, a lifelong citizen, this is a dream come true," said Picayune Major Edward Pinero.

Including planning and construction, the facility has been in the works for more than three years, but hospital administrator Mark Stockstill, says a new hospital has been a goal of local officials for decades. "It's one of the major things that employers and industries look for when deciding to come to an area: How are the schools, how is the healthcare?"

"This is going to turn everything around for Pearl River County. We're an attractive community now - now we've just gotten more attractive in terms of economic development and recruitment," said Pinero.

In total the new hospital is $55 million project. It'll employ more than 300 Highland and Forrest General staffers and replace the city's old hospital building completely.

"State of the art - brand new," said Stockstill of the building. "Everything is brand new. We didn't bring virtually anything from the old facility."

The emergency room is one of the key upgrades.

"We're going to see about 20,000 visits this year, and that is way outside the capability of the old facility. In this new facility we can see in the mid thirties," Stockstill said.

The E.R. is nearly twice the size of the old one and designed to minimize wait times. The facility chiefly, will serve Pearl River County residents, but Picayune is uniquely and pivotally located close to the coast meaning that the new hospital is also a disaster safeguard.

"We're the first high and dry spot if you are following a storm and we have the facility now and the new health care professionals and current healthcare professionals - they're going to offer everything you need," says Pinero.

The new hospital will be officially up and running July 28. Staff will begin transferring patients at 6 a.m., and plan to be done by 10 a.m. When they're done, Stockstill says the lights in the old facility will be flipped off, and the new one will be up and running.

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