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Gov. Bryant Announces New Healthcare Zones

By Jeffrey Hess | Mississippi Public Broadcast | August 15, 2013

bryant-health-care-summit Twelve Mississippi communities are now being recognized as health care zones. The designation clears the way for tax credits for businesses opening shop in those areas. Governor Phil Bryant believes the zones will help during health care into an economic engine.

Governor Bryant announced the 12 communities that will have certified health care zone master plans at a health care and economic development summit in Jackson yesterday.

Bryant says businesses that promise to invest $10 million or create 25 jobs will be able to draw down special tax incentives for everything from housing to labs to research facilities.

"They have got a plan that their mayor or board of supervisors can pick up and say 'ok, we want to increase the economy in health care in our town in Yazoo county. How do we do it? Well we have got a plan. And we even had a master economic development planner come in a do it for us," Bryant said.

The zones are part of a 2012 law that Bryant championed after a trip to Texas examining similar legislation.

This is a map of Gov. Phil Bryant's Healthcare Zone Master Plan: more information can be found at governorbryant.com. (Map and Link credit: governorbryant.com)


Click each county below for specific information about each zone.

Clarke County – Quitman
Clay County – West Point
Copiah County – Hazelhurst
Hancock County – Bay Waveland
Humphreys County – Belzoni
Madison County – Canton
Marshall County – Holly Springs
Montgomery County – Winona
Noxubee County – Macon
Panola County – Batesville
Scott County – Morton
Yazoo County – Yazoo City

Stephen Coulston, the president of Broaddus Planning out of Austin Texas, helped many communities in Mississippi design their zones.

He says communities have to expand how they think about the health care industry.

"To the lay person, we will think about health care as hospitals, and clinics and nurses and doctors and maybe a pharmacy. But the concept says what about medical claims processing and we think about about digital records. What about logistics and warehouse facilities for medical products," Coulston said.

But some at the conference say Bryant is missing the biggest health care opportunity by opposing Medicaid expansion.

Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran, a democrat, says expanding Medicaid to cover 300,000 additional Mississippians would add one billion federal dollars a year to the state economy.

"We have already lost 200 jobs over the past two years through attrition and lay offs. This will continue to decline until things are restructured or we find an avenue for more funding. This could have been that funding. This will continue to stabilize the current jobs we have and create 9,000 new health care jobs," Moran said.

Bryant, and other Republicans leaders, oppose Medicaid expansion because they believe it would cost to much and ultimately lead to fewer jobs in the state.