Senate approves grants for struggling Mississippi hospitals
The state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a program to give grants to Mississippi’s struggling hospitals, but the amount of money for the proposed grants is yet-to-be determined as the measure heads to the House. “This is still a work in progress,” Senate Medicaid Chairman Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, told colleagues. “We are waiting on more information from the Hospital Association … We were initially looking at $80 million. Hospitals say they would like $230 million. We want to know what their situation was prior to COVID, what happened during it, and what their plans for the future are, so we don’t end up back in the same place. Before they come asking for a pot of gold from the Legislature, we want to know what they will do with it and what they will be doing for the future.” Senate Bill 2372, the Mississippi Hospital Sustainability Grant Program, is headed to the House, but with many details yet to be worked out, including how much of the state’s remaining federal pandemic relief money would be used. House Speaker Philip Gunn has said he supports helping hospitals with American Rescue Plan Act money, of which the state has about $400 million remaining.