Olive Branch getting closer to receiving new hospital - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Chip Washington

Olive Branch getting closer to receiving new hospital

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC-TV) - The long fight to bring a hospital facility to Olive branch may be on the verge finally happening, as two state policy roadblocks previously stopping it have been changed.

"Today we have 160,000 residents and we only have one hospital," Mississippi Senator Merle Flowers said. "So we've introduced legislation to provide a certificate of need for a hospital in Olive Branch."

Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard says it's beyond time to move forward.

"I think health care -- an enhanced level of health care --  is much needed in any community, particularly DeSoto County," Rikard said.

One major hindrance was DeSoto county's inclusion into a health care district with the Mississippi Delta.  That has now been changed. 

"Now we're in a five county contiguous area," Flowers said. "The second part is a migration issue. The Department of Health didn't recognize until recently that Mississippians might go across state lines for health care."

Methodist Healthcare wants to build a 100-bed indigent and trauma care hospital in the area, which would provide hundreds of jobs and boost the local economy.

"Over a three year window would be a billion dollar impact to DeSoto County, and that would be a really good shot in the arm," Flowers said.

Rikard remains cautiously optimistic.

"Make it out of committee, and I think we have a good chance of legislatively coming to a solution," he said.

Click here to send an email to Nick Kenney.

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