A new burn center has opened in Rankin
County after Mississippi went nearly two years without any such
treatment facility in the state.
Rankin Medical Center's outpatient burn center opened Friday and
took on 14 patients from three states.
Hospital officials say the privately funded facility will reduce
the need for patients to travel to the nation's largest burn
center, which is in Georgia.
The Mississippi Firefighters Memorial Burn Center in Greenville,
which was at the time the state's only burn unit, shut down in 2005
over a lack of funding. The facility, which was part of the private
Delta Regional Medical Center, closed after lawmakers declined to
offer millions in aid to the ailing unit.
While the state still has no inpatient burn unit, advocates say
the facility in Rankin County will help. Doctors from the Augusta,
Ga.-based Joseph M. Still Burn Center will visit the Rankin
facility two days each month to provide outpatient care to patients
from Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
"This partnership is the first step in restoring burn care to
Mississippi," said Kendall Golden, west central vice president of
the Mississippi Fire Chiefs Association.
Golden said the association has been fighting for a unit since
Firefighters' Memorial Burn Center closed.
The new venture in Rankin County will allow patients to receive
outpatient care from the same doctors who treat them in Georgia,
said Dr. Fred Mullins, medical director of the Joseph M. Still Burn
"Any time you can keep continuity of care, you get better
overall care," Mullins said.
Previously, patients had to make the six-hour trip to Georgia to
receive any treatment. That can be tough on patients and their
families, Mullins said.