South Miss. hospitals get aid to recruit doctors

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The federal government has provided the state of Mississippi with $10 million to recruit and retain doctors along the Gulf Coast.

Gov. Haley Barbour said Monday the money should help restore medical care affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Coastal health officials have warned of a shortage of surgeons and other medical staff at several hospitals in the wake of the Aug. 29, 2005, storm.

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Patients have reported long waits, or extended trips to hospitals, for emergency surgeries.

Hospitals that have been fully staffed with surgeons, such as Singing River and Ocean Springs, have been swamped trying to take up the slack for those understaffed, such as Memorial Hospital at Gulfport.

“Reserving these funds for the hospitals directly affected by Hurricane Katrina is imperative for boosting trauma care and other areas of health services that are vital to a strong health care infrastructure for citizens of the Gulf Coast,” Barbour said.

The social services block grant funds will be available to the following hospitals: Singing River Hospital System (including Singing River Hospital and Ocean Springs Hospital), Biloxi Regional Medical Center, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Hancock Medical Center, Garden Park Medical Center and Gulf Coast Medical Center.

The funding is part of the more than $128 million Mississippi received from Congress through a supplemental appropriations bill for Katrina relief.