Officials: Mississippi getting designated burn center again

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – After the October closure of Mississippi’s only accredited burn center threatened to upend access to care, the state’s next designated burn center will be housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, the state Department of Health announced Tuesday.

State officials approved the hospital’s application months after the facility rolled out its new burn unit in January. The unit was established in response to the closure of the burn center at Merit Health Central, which had Mississippi’s only accredited burn center. Some burn patients were initially redirected to hospitals in other states.

“We are pleased that the University of Mississippi Medical Center has been deemed qualified to provide the level of multidisciplinary care required for burn treatment,” Dr. Peter Arnold, chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, said in a news release. “The depth of medical skills and resources of an academic medical center make UMMC uniquely qualified and an ideal location for burn treatment in the state.”

Merit Health Central, a South Jackson hospital, said the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing challenges made operating their burn unit too difficult. Ahead of the closure, UMMC said it would help fill the void.

The UMMC news release said the hospital’s care team for burn patients would include specialists in emergency medicine and trauma surgery, as well as several sub-specialties in plastic surgery, critical care, laboratory medicine, mental health, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

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