UMMC to help fill gap created after burn center’s closure

September 29, 2022 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — As Mississippi’s only burn center plans to close next month, the University of Mississippi Medical Center on Thursday said it’s making moves to help fill the gap.

UMMC said it is establishing the resources for the state’s only academic medical center to fill the void caused by the upcoming Oct. 14 closure of the burn center at Merit Health Central in South Jackson.

“We are enhancing our burn care capabilities to respond to this lack of service in the state,” Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs, said in a news release. “We constantly evaluate ways we can meet the medical needs of Mississippians and other patients in the region who require the complex care that we can provide. It’s essential that burn patients in the area receive care in a timely manner, so we are stepping in to fill this need.”

The JMS Burn and Reconstruction Center, located at Merit Health, includes 13 burn intensive care patient rooms, 20 burn step down unit patient rooms and a 12-room outpatient clinic. The center cares for both adult and pediatric burn patients on an inpatient and outpatient basis. After Oct. 14, burn patients will be redirected to Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, Firefighters Burn Center - Regional One Health in Memphis, Tennessee or USA Health in Mobile, Alabama, the Clarion Ledger reported.

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With coordination by Mississippi MED-COM, housed at UMMC in the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services, burn patients who require a higher level of care will either be accepted and cared for at UMMC or transferred to the most appropriate regional burn center for treatment, the university’s statement said.

Merit Health earlier this month said the COVID-19 pandemic and challenge of staffing and recruitment have made it difficult to “recruit the breadth of specialists needed to maintain the burn program, which is the primary reason why we’ve made the difficult decision to close.”