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Burn center moving from Crossgates to CMMC

BRANDON and JACKSON — Two years after a multimillion-dollar expansion, the burn center at Crossgates River Oaks Hospital is relocating to Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

The state Department of Health has issued a certificate of need to Health Management Associates approving the move from the Brandon hospital. According to a Health Department news release received by the Clarion-Ledger, the total relocation cost is $1.4 million. The department’s certificate process is meant to ensure that spending on new health care facilities increases access without unnecessary duplication of resources and to contain costs.

Dr. Fred Mullins, president of Joseph M. Still Burn Centers Inc. of Augusta, Ga., said the need for relocation stemmed from rapid growth of the program.

“More space allows growth for a bigger team to care for more patients, particularly in the intensive care area,” Mullins said. “Additionally, there is increased access to subspecialists, meaning specialized physicians that can treat higher acuity patients, thus keeping more patients within the state of Mississippi for burn care.”

The timetable for moving the burn center was not immediately available. The unit opened at the Brandon hospital in 2009, an extension of an outpatient center that opened in 2008. Mississippi had not had an inpatient burn facility since the Mississippi Firefighters’ Memorial Burn Center in Greenville closed in mid-2005 because of budget and staffing shortfalls. Patients were transported to burn centers outside the state for treatment.

Health Management Associates of Naples, Fla., owns both hospitals, as well as eight others in Mississippi. HMA is currently in a contract dispute with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, the state’s largest health insurer. The hospital owner has said it will absorb additional charges that would otherwise fall to customers as part of the dispute.

HMA is considering a merger with Community Health Systems of Brentwood, Tenn.

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