JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) -- Mississippi is pioneering new strategies in developing its health care economy, Gov. Phil Bryant shared with more than 700 people who attended the Governor’s Health Care Economic Development Summit Thursday.
As part of the health care clustering strategy Gov. Bryant outlined last year in a report detailing his vision for growing Mississippi’s health care economy, the governor announced that communities around the state are developing health care zone master plans to guide health care investment and expansion at the local level.
At Thursday’s Summit, Gov. Bryant announced the certification of 12 communities master plans.
“The cooperation of private sector leaders and Mississippi’s elected officials is producing great opportunities for this state,” Gov. Bryant said. “Mississippi is unique in its approach to applying health care zones and clustering to economic development, and today I am proud to announce 12 communities have been certified through the Mississippi Development Authority as certified Health Care Zone Master Plan Communities.”
In 2012, Gov. Bryant enacted the Health Care Industry Zone Act to spur health care development within five miles of major acute care hospitals.
Under the act, businesses like laboratory testing facilities, medical supply distributors and biotechnology research facilities that either make an investment of at least $10 million or create a minimum of 25 full time, permanent jobs within the health care zone are eligible for certain tax incentives.
During the 2013 session, Gov. Bryant expanded the act to include health care investment in communities that developed a certified health care master plan in lieu of meeting the original law’s acute care bed count.
“The communities that develop and adopt these master plans are setting solid groundwork for facilitating health care job creation,” Gov. Bryant continued. “These plans are valuable, proactive tools that will aid communities, MDA and local economic development practitioners as they work to attract the start-up or recruitment of a variety of private sector health-related industries.”
Gov. Bryant certified 12 Mississippi cities as Health Care Zone Master Plan Communities:
Clarke County: Quitman
Clay County: West Point
Copiah County: Hazlehurst
Hancock County: Bay St. Louis-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
“Last fall I traveled the state with the Mississippi Economic Council after evaluating the strengths and weaknesses in Mississippi’s health care economy. Together we issued Blueprint Mississippi Health Care: An Economic Driver—a report that provides the framework to help us further develop our health care growth strategies," Gov. Bryant said.
The report identified ways to grow Mississippi’s health care economy and benefit the state in four key areas: workforce development, quality of life, business sustainability and the creation of economic wealth.
Blake Wilson, president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, said Gov. Bryant’s leadership will help Mississippi realize the importance of focusing on Mississippi’s health and its economy through developing the state’s medical industry.
"Gov. Bryant's focus on this importance of health care as an economic driver will play a vital role in positioning Mississippi for the future," Wilson said. "We have the opportunity through this summit to develop a new pathway to progress for Mississippi as part of the Blueprint Mississippi effort."
“Leaders around the state are continuing to foster a positive environment for health care development, and we are implementing many of the strategies outlined in the Blueprint health care report,” Gov. Bryant said. “The clustering concept is taking root around the state as evidenced by these new master plan communities, and the Mississippi Health Care Solutions Institute, which I announced in my 2013 State of the State address, will work to promote Mississippi’s health care sector.”
Gov. Bryant hopes other communities around the state will see the importance of developing a Health Care Zone Master Plan as part of a strategy for expanding health care investment.
Copies of plans for the certified communities are available at www.governorbryant.com