Millions of Mississippi residents will lose their Medicaid benefits. The change affects most locals who gained health coverage during the pandemic. But the lost Medicaid funding is crippling hospitals. And it is forcing the institutions to close.
Greenwood Leflore Hospital is the medical hub of the impoverished Mississippi Delta. The facility opened 117 years ago and has grown to 208 beds. The premise features walk-in clinics, a modern building, and an intensive care unit. But many beds and most of the infrastructure goes unused. Why? The patients cannot afford medical bills.
Without Medicaid and due to high inflation, patients can longer afford regular checkups. And hospitals have no funding for staff.
A recent visit to Greenwood revealed low patient counts. About 13 inpatients occupied a single ward. The maturity and ICU wards closed because of understaffing. The rest of the building was quiet as no one used those floors. Experts say the primary cause is poor patients who do not have either private or state health coverage.
Greenwood lost $17 million last year. The hospital also has low cash reserves. So, when the money finishes, the facility will permanently close all its doors. Gary Marchand, the hospital’s interim CEO, said, “We’re going away.” “It’s happening.”
The lost Medicaid funding affects rural areas the most.
According to reports, the state will remove people from the Medicaid list throughout 2023. The care facilities will continue to feel the effects and close. These changes leave residents without nearby, easy-to-access treatment options.
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