Hospital re-opening in rural Mississippi town after being closed for nearly 5 years

Marks, Mississippi — For nearly five years, people in Marks, Mississippi and Quitman County have been at least 30 minutes away from receiving emergency healthcare.

Soon, that will change as the Quitman Community Hospital plans to re-open, thanks to a partnership with the nearby Panola County Medical Center.

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Tuesday, the Quitman County Board of Supervisors voted to reopen the hospital, a facility that will have the capacity to provide emergency care and beds for acute patients, including those with COVID-19, according to the Panola County Medical Center.

When the hospital closed on October 31, 2016, 99 jobs went with it, dealing a significant blow to not only the hospital but the county as its largest employer shut its doors.

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Data from the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium shows the need for the hospitals reopening, the Panola County Medical Center said. According to the data, 58 percent of the county’s nearly 7,000 residents deal with high blood pressure, 45 percent have high cholesterol, 31 percent live with heart disease and 17 percent manage diabetes.

On top of the county’s health issues, 35.6 percent of its population reportedly live in poverty, the median annual household income of the county being just $25,383, the Panola County Medical Center said.

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The re-opening of the hospital will help to relieve some of that medical and economic strain, according to Manuel Killebrew, President of the Quitman County Board of Supervisors.

“This means 75-100 good-paying jobs will be returning to the county, and it goes without saying, we need a hospital close by to provide the medical services for our citizens,” Killebrew said.