GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A new collaboration between Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and Children's of Mississippi will offer enhanced medical care to Gulf Coast children and families.
This includes the planned acquisition of four of six Memorial pediatric clinics and a management arrangement for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Memorial.
According to Gary Marchand, Memorial's President and Chief Executive Officer, the agreement stemmed from a joint discussion with UMMC.
Marchand said Memorial will operate all inpatient services, including labor/delivery, NICU, and a dedicated pediatric unit.
The staff will remain the same at the Gulf Coast pediatric clinics, which are located in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Orange Grove, and Gulfport. However, beginning March 26, the hospital will include the Children's of Mississippi branding, along with specialized care and expertise of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
According to Marchand, more than half of the pediatric clinic patients are beneficiaries of Medicaid but there are no significant financial concerns that are imminent.
"We do have concerns about payment levels in government programs over the long-term and the ongoing privatization of the Medicaid program to commercial insurers," said Marchand. "For these clinics to be viable in the future, insurance payments must cover cost inflation."
Children's of Mississippi is the umbrella organization that includes Batson Children's Hospital and all UMMC pediatric care.
"Memorial and UMMC are similar institutions with similar cultures, values and beliefs, and dedication to provide high quality and excellent patient care," said Marchand. "Together, through our partnership with Children's of Mississippi, we will preserve the long-term viability of pediatric services currently available and provide for more convenient access to specialty care for our youngest residents."
"Our goal is to touch the lives of Mississippi's children," said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children's of Mississippi. "By providing care closer to home for Coastal families, we seek to partner with Memorial Hospital at Gulfport in giving children in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region the healthiest start in life."
In January, UMMC began managing the Memorial NICU, the Mississippi Gulf Coast's only Level III unit. Offering around-the-clock care to newborns with special needs, the recently updated unit has 11 semi-private rooms with 23 NICU beds. Children's of Mississippi operates the state's only Level IV NICU in Jackson.
UMMC will also take over staffing of Memorial's pediatric hospitalist service. Hospitalists are in-house physicians who focus exclusively on hospitalized patients. Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, the patient will once again receive care from their referring or primary care physician.
Children's of Mississippi, part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, encompasses all of the pediatric services available at UMMC and at clinical sites throughout Mississippi. At the heart of these services is Batson Children's Hospital, the state's only hospital devoted exclusively to the care and treatment of sick and injured children.
The Children's of Mississippi network brings specialized clinical care for children to communities across the state, making it easier for families to get the treatment they need closer to home.