New MSDH programs to help patients as hospitals in the Delta struggle

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The future of hospitals in the Mississippi delta looks grim.

In the last three months, two large maternal and infant health units closed their doors leaving expectant moms to find other care options.

“We’re looking at 15 plus hospitals throughout the delta. And out of that, two are on life support, and another four are in danger unless something changes,” Mississippi State Department of Health Officer Daniel Edney said.

So, what’s next for mothers in one of the highest-risk areas for pregnancy? The Mississippi Department of Health says they’re stepping up.

“How does just a regular mom who’s struggling against a lot of health disparities, navigate the complex world of our health care system? Well, our nurse case managers will do that for her,” Edney said.

Mothers on Medicaid can receive help from MSDH nurses in their homes both during pregnancy and post-delivery through the Health Mother/Healthy Babies Program.

“They will be in the home to identify something that’s changing health-wise and get hurt to the proper level of care. In the postpartum period, the same thing as she’s identifying postpartum depression, making sure she gets the mental health care that she needs. Something as simple as making sure she understands what say sleep is,” Edney stated.

Edney says while there is a nursing shortage across the United States, he believes with travel nurses slowly returning to Mississippi, the program will be able to help hundreds of mothers - even if hospitals close permanently.

“We’ve had a lot of nurses who are interested in coming in work in this program, whether it’s as a full-time Health Department employee or as a contract employee.”

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