/UMMC partners with Coast’s largest hospital

UMMC partners with Coast’s largest hospital

Monday’s announcement by UMMC was made about a collaboration between Children’s of Mississippi (CSM) and Gulfport Memorial Hospital (GPMH). Children’s will acquire four of Memorial’s six pediatric centers and take over management of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Gary Marchand, President and CEO of Memorial, stated that Memorial and UMMC were similar institutions. They have similar values, beliefs, and cultures and are dedicated to providing high-quality and exceptional patient care. “We will work together with Children’s of Mississippi to preserve the viability of current pediatric services and make it easier for children to access specialty care. Memorial is the largest Gulf Coast hospital and thousands of pediatric patients visit its six clinics every year. Because of its location on the coast, many of these referrals are sent out of state to Oschner Medical Centre in New Orleans and University of South Alabama Mobile. Prior to the UMMC collaboration Memorial only had general pediatricians. Memorial will now have a variety of pediatric specialists along the Coast under this agreement. These range from neurology to oncology to gastrointestinal. These patients can remain in the state and within Memorial’s network. This is a major benefit for both hospitals. Memorial’s four pediatric clinics are being renamed Children’s Clinics and UMMC will get first dibs on referrals. Memorial’s level three Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be treated in the same way. Both Oschner and South Alabama have level IV NICUs, just like UMMC. Marchand stated that pediatrics is a complex field. Because young children are all healthy and well, it’s necessary to have a high population density in order for pediatric specialty programs to be viable. “Nationally, they tend to consolidate around educational medial centers, so it’s important that we partner with the university to bring these specialties closer home,” Marchand said. Memorial has been struggling with budget deficits in recent years. Since 2013, when the state modified its Medicaid reimbursement formula, operating losses at the hospital ranged between $3.7 million and $4.8 million annually. In December, Memorial announced that it would sell its psychiatric hospital as well as two outpatient clinics to Universal Health Services Inc. Marchand stated that this was a significant step in improving pediatric care on the Coast. “Everything seems like it is getting more aligned and more consolidated from a physician viewpoint (at hospitals, nationally).” In January, UMMC took over management of the Memorial NICU on the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Level III unit. This unit, which was recently renovated, offers 24-hour care for newborns with special requirements. It has 11 semi-private rooms and 23 NICU beds. UMMC will also assume responsibility for the pediatric hospitalist service at Memorial. Hospitalists are doctors who work exclusively with hospitalized patients. After a patient has been discharged from the hospital they will be able to receive the same care as their primary care physician. Memorial will continue to provide all inpatient hospital services, including labor and delivery. Guy Giesecke CEO of Children’s of Mississippi stated that “Our goal was to touch Mississippi’s children.” “By providing care close to families living on the coast, we aim to give children in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region the best start in life.