Corinth hospital considers new construction

CORINTH — Magnolia Regional Health Center has plans for $17 million in improvements, including relocation and consolidation of some existing services.

Hospital CEO Rick Napper outlined the project for local officials this past week. He says it would need approval by the hospital board and the Mississippi Department of Health.

“We would like to make the decision to go forward or not by December and start construction as early as March of next year,” said Napper.

The project would add 23,000 square feet of new space and renovate 27,000 square feet of existing space. Napper said the hospital has been setting aside cash for the project and would not ask the city or county for money.

The project will not add employees to the current 1,209 but will free space for about nine physicians scheduled to join the hospital, avoiding the need to build a doctors’ office complex.

It is not expected to generate new revenue, Napper said, “but it will keep us from losing money under health care reform.”

It would move the emergency room, move all imaging services to the hospital, with a new area focusing on women’s imaging, and include some renovations to the building.

“The 1966 building structure … we can renovate it for storage, but renovating it for patient use is very difficult,” said Napper.

The existing emergency room would be converted to a health education center.

Upgrades to the physical plant are included in the project.

“Our chillers and boilers are getting to the point that we’re going to have to replace them,” Napper said. “Whether we do the project or not, there’s about $8 million we’re going to have to spend.”

He said Magnolia total ER visits were up about 800 from this point last year.

He said the hospital may look at adding 35 beds, bringing the total to 199.

The Associated Press