Hospital might move Marian Hill center|[03/13/08]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2008

McAuley will be vacant

River Region Health System might move its chemical dependency treatment center from the former ParkView Regional Medical Center by the end of this year, leaving the McAuley Drive complex vacant.

Hospital officials said the move is in the planning stages, but progressing. “There is a strong possibility we will begin that process in late 2008, ” said Diane Gawronski, marketing director and spokesman.

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If the move is completed, it would leave empty the main site that was built in the 1950s as Mercy Hospital and The Street Clinic. River Region will continue to operate the newer Street Clinic on McAuley at Grove and a cancer treatment center across Grove Street.

Michael McMillin, River Region’s director of business development, told the Vicksburg Lions Club Wednesday that a likely new home for Marian Hill will be the fourth floor of the River Region West Campus on North Frontage Road. That space has been unoccupied since River Region closed its acute rehabilitation and post-acute care services in December 2006.

The former ParkView facility was sold in 2005 to River Hill Investments LLC, a Brandon-based group that has announced no plans for the property. Mayor Laurence Leyens has said the complex, most of which has been empty for six years, will be subject to city code enforcement actions if not maintained. The owners have fenced the property and kept the grass cut. Gawronski said the fate of Marian Hill’s leased space will be determined by the property’s new owners.

River Region opened its main campus on U.S. 61 North in February 2002, completing a near-total consolidation of local health-care services. The main hospital is 391,196 square feet and serves residents in Vicksburg and Warren County, as well as those in Issaquena, Sharkey, Claiborne, Yazoo and western Hinds counties, and residents in Louisiana as far west as Delhi.

Its West Campus, formerly Vicksburg Medical Center, houses the hospital’s behavioral health and pain management clinics, and is adjacent to Vicksburg Clinic. Space in the building also includes Promise Hospital of Vicksburg, a provider of long-term acute care that has a landlord-tenant relationship with River Region.

In 2007, its parent company, Texas-based Triad Hospitals Inc., merged with Community Health System of Tennessee.

Since that time, the hospital has made at least two other changes. One was to replace its lone staff cardiovascular surgeon and regular team of emergency room physicians, McMillin said. Those roles were contracted out to staffing providers.

“We want patients to have a good experience,” McMillin said.

Jackson-based Cardiovascular Surgical Group provides a five-person team of doctors to serve patients in the emergency room under a similar contract the group has with St. Dominic Jackson Memorial Hospital, Central Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, McMillin said.

As a result and an internal study of emergency waiting nationwide, wait times have been streamlined, McMillin said.

McMillin said the outsourced emergency staff has performed admirably.

“People say, well, River Region doesn’t have a heart doctor anymore,” McMillin said. “Well, we do.”

In its 2007 community report shared by McMillin, the hospital reported 34,400 people visited the emergency room that year.

In- and out-patient visits totaled 9,700, and 11,750 patients were admitted. Births for the year totaled 1,130.