JACKSON, Miss.—Mississippi has a burn center again after the University of Mississippi Medical Center established the Mississippi Burn Center on its campus in Jackson. The state has not had a burn center since last October, when the JMS Burn Center at Merit Health Central in Jackson closed its doors.
The Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning approved the new UMMC burn center during a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19.
“This approval confirms our commitment to providing complex care to burn patients so they can receive timely care close to home and with the trusted expertise of Mississippi’s only academic medical center,” UMMC Associate Vice Chancellor For Clinical Affairs Dr. Alan Jones said in a press release on UMMC’s website. “We want to keep burn care in Mississippi for Mississippians.”
After the JMS Burn Center closed in the fall, the press release says, “UMMC assembled the resources and expertise to fill the health care gap.”
“Previous legislation directed UMMC to establish a burn center and the establishment of the Mississippi Burn Center today not only fulfills the Medical Center’s statutory responsibility, but also provides needed care for burn patients in the state,” the press release says. “UMMC will also collaborate with the Mississippi State Department of Health to finalize accreditation of the Mississippi Burn Center.”
The Mississippi Legislature passed and former Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill in 2007 requiring UMMC to establish the burn center on its campus only after the IHL Board of Trustees made a written “determination that the cost of support is available from public and/or private funds.”
Earlier this month, the Mississippi Free Press reported on past failed efforts to fund the burn center at UMMC in the 2000s. UMMC Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Marc Rolph said in a Jan. 3 statement that the medical center was continuing “to evaluate the needs of Mississippi’s burn victims and how we may be able to provide the vital, complex care they require and we will expand our capabilities in the future as necessary to meet these needs.”
This morning, Rolph told the Mississippi Free Press that UMMC now has the infrastructure and funding it previously lacked, making it possible to finally establish the burn center 16 years after the Legislature mandated it.