GUEST COLUMN: Merit Health River Region has Broad Impact on Vicksburg/Warren County

Published 4:00 am Sunday, June 19, 2022

Over the course of a year, the impact of Merit Health River Region adds up as the skilled and compassionate hands of physicians, nurses and other team members deliver safe, quality care around the clock. 

Beyond clinical care, Merit Health River Region is a major employer that regularly invests resources to expand and enhance the services available locally. The overall community benefit each year is significant and totaled more than $118 million in 2021.

Last year, the hospital and clinics delivered care through more than 119,000 patient visits as the pandemic heightened the need for medical care. The hospital has supported more than 650 COVID inpatients since March 2020 while sustaining all of its other medical services. To help protect the community from the COVID-19 virus, 1200 vaccine doses were provided, helping people avoid serious symptoms and hospitalization.

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 “We provided quality care for patients with COVID and also for other members of our community who had a broad range of medical needs,” said Barry Moss, interim chief executive officer for Merit Health River Region. “Our community is truly fortunate to have this resilient and committed team of clinicians and caregivers here in Vicksburg and Warren County who make a difference for so many patients each day. We helped people get well and live healthier, and that was evident in so many ways – patients left with less pain following a joint replacement, a heart beating in rhythm after receiving a pacemaker or a smile of relief when their screening mammogram or colonoscopy was clear.”

Employees and medical staff brought their skills and compassion to support more than 23,000 emergency department visits, more than 5,000 inpatients and perform more than 3,000 surgeries. Over 160,000 patients received care across our Merit Health Medical Group physician clinics, physical therapy clinic and diagnostic imaging departments. We also delivered joy to local families as more than 300 babies were born.

Merit Health River Region continues to grow and evolve as resources are directed toward increased medical services, facilities and technologies that are important to patients. These include the addition of a new MRI offering breast and prostate imaging for early detection of cancer and a more open design for patients. Access has been enhanced as we welcomed general surgeons Matthew Knight, M.D. and Joshua Holifield, D.O., and Ear, Nose and Throat specialist James Stanford, M.D. Orthopedic surgeon Cody Tipton, M.D., joined William Porter M.D. and our orthopedic services team, increasing our ability to provide convenient access to services, including sports medicine.

As Merit Health River Region works to continuously meet patients’ needs, it also gives back to the broader Vicksburg/Warren County region. Merit Health River Region provided over $47 million in charity and uncompensated care for the community’s most vulnerable. And the $7.7 million paid in property, sales and GRT taxes helps support civic resources and services. 

The hospital’s payroll of more than $54 million ripples across the local economy as employees buy goods and services. The hospital also made capital improvements totaling more than $1.8 million. 

Moss continued, “We are part of this community and we are committed to doing all we can to provide excellent healthcare services and to making Vicksburg and Warren County a healthier, better community for all.” 

To help the community live healthier, Merit Health River Region last year launched a free e-newsletter with a monthly dose of health and wellness inspiration sent directly to your inbox. Sign up at https://www.merithealthriverregion.com/enewsletter-sign-up.

Editor’s Note: This column was submitted by Merit Health River Region.