Stacey Wilkes honored with healthcare award

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2017

State Representative for District 108, Stacey Wilkes, was recognized with the One Rural Award for her work to support rural healthcare at the 22nd Annual Healthcare Conference held in Jackson earlier this month.

During the event, put together by the Mississippi Rural Health Association, Wilkes was acknowledged for her support of healthcare legislation and encouragement of policies that support hospitals like Poplarville’s Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home.

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“I am honored to have received this prestigious award and have been working hard on legislation to keep access to quality healthcare available to those of us in rural areas,” said Wilkes.

Wilkes said the inadequate number of facilities hinders access to healthcare and forces people living in rural areas to travel to bigger cities, which isn’t safe and affordable.

“Traveling a long distance can mean the difference in life and death for emergencies. In addition it would make it especially difficult for low income families to receive quality healthcare if it were not available nearby,” said Wilkes.

In a release by the Mississippi Rural Health Association, Executive Director Ryan Kelly said, “Wilkes has worked both personally and professionally to support healthcare in Mississippi. Coming from a rural community, she fully understands the challenges that we face with delivering quality healthcare to a unique population under less than favorable economic conditions.”

Wilkes said healthcare has a significant impact on the economy in all small communities across Mississippi and rural America.

“Highland Community Hospital and the Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home are the third largest employer in the county and provide great number of jobs to our area. If one of our hospitals were to close, in addition to losing the availability of quick access to healthcare, the loss of those jobs would be devastating to our local economy,” said Wilkes.

Wilkes said she is dedicated to bringing about positive changes to the healthcare within the state.