State leaders say Coast ideal for medical supplier business boom - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

State leaders say Coast ideal for medical supplier business boom

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

State economic leaders said the Coast is in the perfect position to turn healthcare into big business. The Mississippi Economic Council president spoke in Gulfport on Thursday. Blake Wilson is on a statewide tour to update the business community with the latest in what's being done to spark economic development and how healthcare ties into that.

Mississippi's hospitals are places were people go to get well. State leaders said they believe the healthcare industry can also be what helps the recovery of our state economy.

"There are opportunities and opportunities for the Coast," said Wilson. "Not only in promoting the great healthcare resources that you have here and helping them get to that next level but also in looking for some of the opportunities for instance for medical distribution."

Wilson said after seeing similar markets in other parts of the country successfully create a business influx of medical distributors he's convinced the Coast can do the same and become what he calls the "next big thing."

"Because of your unique location, the great accessibility to highways and rail, this part of the state like Desoto County and Hattiesburg are well positioned to be able to take advantage of medical supply distribution," Wilson said. "Which is a huge opportunity."

The link between healthcare and economic development doesn't end there. State leaders said it's also about more Mississippians leading healthy active lifestyles and physicians agree.

Retired Gulfport Doctor Magruder Corban said, "It's a tremendous correlation because people who feel good do a better job. They're happier on the job and if they're in ill health. They're not up to their capacity."

"If you get a more healthy workforce, you can attract more industry here," Wilson said. "That's one of our challenges here in Mississippi that we need a more healthy workforce. In other words, if you have a more healthy workforce, companies want to locate here because they're interested in a more healthy workforce. Fewer loss time days, things like that."

The speech was also a progress report on Blueprint Mississippi, a major economic development initiative. Officials say the state made strides by lowering the inventory tax but needs to make a priority of improving our infrastructure.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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