“Nothing short of a miracle” Hospital finally reopens in rural Mississippi

MARKS, Mississippi — “Nothing short of a miracle,” that’s how the CEO of a critical access hospital in north Mississippi describes the reopening of the county’s largest employer. Quitman County’s only hospital closed in 2016. At that time, 100 jobs went with it. But as FOX13 found out, after a 5-year wait, it reopened this week.

Until the hospital reopened in Quitman County, people would have to travel 30 minutes just to get to an emergency room and to a hospital.

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”Oftentimes, accidents occur after hours and so it’s been very dangerous for the people of the community and they are thrilled to know they have a hospital back in action,” hospital CEO Quentin Whitwell said.

He approached the board of supervisors in early September, concerned that when the certificate of need expired on the hospital it could not be reopened again.

Forty days later, Quitman County has a hospital again.

”It has been a heroic effort for our team. I mean, in seven weeks and two days we put together a fledgling facility that was in disrepair and out of code and had not been occupied for 5 years,” Whitwell said.

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At one time, the hospital was the county’s biggest employer. Whitwell said there are even bigger plans for where a once dormant hospital stood.

The hospital has the capacity to provide emergency care as well as beds for acute patients, including those with COVID-19.

”We are up and running full scale. We have a 24/7 ER and we are operating at eight beds. Our license is for 25. We expect to grow.” Whitwell said.