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Health Department May Restore Some Suspended Medical Services to Ocean Springs Clinic

By Rhonda Miller | Published 08 Feb 2012 10:21pm | comments
Sign ofn door of state health department clinic in Ocean Springs.

With tight budgets and major health issues across Mississippi, immunizations and HIV services have been suspended at the state health clinic in Ocean Springs.  Now as MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports, some of the services may be coming back.

About a dozen mothers and babies are waiting for their appointments for WIC, the federally-funded nutrition program for women, infants and children at the state clinic in Ocean Springs.  This is the only service being provided since February first, and only two days a week, instead of five.

Jennifer Davenport has insurance for her children’s medical treatment, but she knows others have been using the medical services that were cut.

"Friends and people I work with, a lot of people come here for their shots."

State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier says cutting medical services naturally causes concern.

"Unfortunately, we’ve had budget cuts from every direction. We’re expecting federal budget cuts, our state budget has been pretty slim and with the county cutting down on what they give us, we just can’t keep it open."

Jackson County used to contribute $500,000 toward the budget of more than $2 million for the state clinics in Ocean Springs and Pascagoula. The county reduced its share to $300,000. So the state decided to cut out immunizations, and STD and HIV services in Ocean Springs, and refer patients to Pascagoula.  County supervisor Troy Ross says that’s not a simple change.

"Most of the people using these facilities, they’re not always going to have the resources to get to Pascagoula. So we need to take this seriously and get it fixed to the point where they’ll have somewhere to go."

About 800 patients a month have been using the Ocean Springs clinic.  With the area around the clinic growing in population, supervisors voted earlier this week to restore $100,000 in funding for the clinic. Director of Field Services for the state Department of Health, Tim Darnell, says that paves the way to restore some medical services two days a week.

"The money will start to draw down fairly soon, It’s going to involve some hiring of staff and some reassignments. In the next few weeks, as quickly as we possibly can, we’ll start restoring those services.

The Ocean Springs office also handled wastewater and food inspections and environmental permits. Those services have been moved to Pascagoula.

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Sign ofn door of state health department clinic in Ocean Springs.


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