Mississippi hospitals are in crisis. But aid may be slow to arrive.

Nearly all 111 of Mississippi's hospitals are facing financial difficulties in multiple areas, but the state's senators might not be committed to proposed solutions, Mississippi Today reported Nov. 21. 

The state's rural hospitals in particular are facing serious financial challenges, according to the report. Mississippi Health Officer Daniel Edney, MD, told members of the Senate Public Health Committee that 38 of those hospitals are in danger of immediate or near-term closure. 

The Mississippi Hospital Association offered six possible steps that can be taken to help hospitals survive, according to the report. Those options include increasing the state federal Medicaid supplemental payment, eliminating the taxes hospitals pay and expanding Medicaid.

Of the options pitched, only one would not require legislative action, and that is the one most likely to become reality: the Mississippi Division of Medicaid seeking federal approval to increase payments to hospitals.   

Mississippi Hospital Association CEO Tim Moore told lawmakers that all six steps are needed to improve the hospitals' financial viability, according to the report. A chart from the group distributed to the senators suggested expanding Medicaid would provide the most benefit. 

Sen. Kevin Blackwell, chairman of the Senate Medicaid Committee, told Mississippi Today he is opposed to Medicaid expansion and would prefer other options, such as helping poor residents purchase private insurance. He added that options likely will not be considered until the 2024 legislative session, after the 2023 statewide elections are held. 

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