LeBonheur, North Mississippi Medical Center expand care options

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Published: April 21,2008

For some North Mississippi parents, the drive to Memphis for pediatric sub-specialty services has been an ongoing fact of life. But thanks to a recent teaming of LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center and Tupelo-based North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC), area families will gain additional access options in a more familiar setting.

Recently, the two medical institutions joined forces via the LeBonheur Outreach Program in an effort to provide expanded pediatric sub-specialty services to children in the Tupelo area, including neurology, general surgery and cardiology.

Two neurologists, three surgeons and two cardiologists will see patients at the former Med Serve clinic at 410 Council Circle on the NMMC campus. The neurologists are scheduled twice a month and the surgeons and cardiologists are scheduled once a month. The physicians who see patients in Tupelo include neurologists Dr. Ahmad Al Hamda and Dr. Robin Morgan, surgeons Dr. Max Langham, Dr. Trey Eubanks and Dr. Eunice Huang and cardiologists Dr. Courtney Anthony and Dr. Thomas Chin.

At a recent open house in Tupelo, LeBonheur president and CEO Meri Armour and NMMC president Chuck Stokes said the arrangement is a win-win for patients in that specialists will travel to Tupelo from the Memphis area, allowing families to stay closer to home.

Stokes said that discussions began approximately two years ago, and the subsequent arrangement reflects a commitment to “listening to our customers regarding their desire to see more subspecialized pediatric services available in the community.”

“This partnership will reduce travel time and stress for patients and families in the area,” Stokes said. “The stellar reputation of LeBonheur is consistent with the mission, vision and values of North Mississippi Medical Center, and that is what makes a great relationship.”

According to information provided by LeBonheur, the organization treats almost 140,000 annually from 47 states and several countries. NMMC serves more than 650,000 people in 22 counties in North Mississippi, Northwest Alabama and portions of Tennessee, according to NMMC media relations.

Several local-area parents who attended the recent event expressed their support and enthusiasm for the arrangement, noting their peace of mind with care closer to home. Their stories reflected the challenges parents face from a scheduling, travel and financial standpoint in getting their children the consultation and care needed for conditions ranging from seizures to congenital heart problems.

Administrators from LeBonheur and NMMC stated that the teaming evolved from the needs of the community, with area pediatricians and parents advocating such an arrangement.

Ellen Friloux, administrator for NMMC’s women and children’s services, added that parents have been pleased with the convenience of the clinic and that NMMC hopes to “expand the variety of specialists available in the clinic.”

Stokes reiterated the point, noting that the expanded relationship with LeBonheur “will raise the standard of pediatric services and care provided to our community.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Karen Kahler Holliday at mbj@msbusiness.com.

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