Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann has unveiled a package of proposals aimed at saving rural hospitals from closing down, leaving Mississippians without access to reliable health care. Flanked by Senate colleagues for the announcement, Hosemann told reporters on Wednesday that the proposals would remove some restrictions on hospital partnerships, attempt to keep nurses in the state and encourage hospitals to expand physician residency programs. “We have come to the conclusion that there needs to be significant positive changes in order to provide our citizens with necessary rural health care,” Hosemann said. Legislative action under the Capitol dome this year is a matter of life and death for hospitals and rural Mississippians. State Health Officer Dr. Daniel Edney previously told lawmakers that 38 of the state’s hospitals face serious financial troubles and are at risk of closure. This represents 54% of Mississippi’s rural hospitals. One piece of legislation Hosemann is pushing is a bill that would remove several antitrust restrictions from hospitals and allow them to collaborate with other hospitals or nonprofit organizations. The legislation, for example, would allow North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo to partner with the Tippah County Hospital in Ripley to provide OB-GYN services for Northeast Mississippi residents.