CHICKASAW_Journal_BANNERWe have had several people call this paper and one person even stop in ask if the Chickasaw Journal is going to do and editorial on Trace Regional Hospital closing its emergency room later this fall.

Each has said it is wrong for Trace to do this and it must be stopped.

This newspaper says not so fast.

Trace Regional did not arrive at its decision by some kind of vote in this community and the Chickasaw Journal will also not be driven by what may seem politically correct or popular.

The Chickasaw Journal broke this story on June 25 and it has been a topic of discussion at church, the coffee shop and just about anywhere in Houston that we come together and talk. It is a serious issue and one that will have a serious impact on many in this community.

First, as reported in this paper, SunLink has been studying this issue for more than a year. Trace Regional Administrator Gary Staten said recent changes in the healthcare and how hospitals and doctors are reimbursed for services has prompted trends that they see as unsustainable.

Despite what many want to believe neither Trace Regional, nor any hospital in Northeast Mississippi, is a charity hospital. It is a business and as such it must make money to keep the lights on.

The days of people walking into local emergency rooms, demanding care and then walking out without paying the bill are rapidly drawing to a close. The Affordable Care Act – also known as ObamaCare – says all American are to have insurance and if that law was enforced, many of the problems faced by the healthcare industry might be avoided.

But with that said SunLink looked at the numbers and had to make a hard decision.

They chose to provide us with a rural health clinic that will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. That choice will be great for momma’s with sick babies on Saturday morning and the elderly with a tummy ache on Sunday afternoon. Most cuts, bumps and bruises will still be treated during the hours the clinic is open.

The downside is emergencies – and we might add real emergencies – will need to be rushed to Tupelo, Starkville, Amory, West Point or Calhoun City emergency rooms.

We are glad this issue is now in the public realm and we hope the community will start looking at its healthcare options and when and if it needs medical care. Educating Chickasaw County about this issue is critical.

Last but not least, in both stories published in this paper it was stated that Trace is profitable and the hospital is not closing.

That is the real choice, the real emergency, none of us want to face.


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