AP NEWS

Mississippi city now owns closed hospital, seeks medical use

December 25, 2019 GMT

NEWTON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi city hopes to attract a new health care provider to a closed hospital building that it now owns.

WTOK-TV reports that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office transferred the former Pioneer Community Hospital of Newton to the city of Newton last week.

The state took possession of the building after its former owners failed to pay property taxes. The hospital closed in 2015 after the federal government revoked the hospital’s critical access designation, which provides higher payments for services.

Newton Mayor Murray Weems and others met Friday to discuss planning for some sort of new medical use.

“We’re proud to get it back for the city and look forward to moving as quick as we can to try to have some health care facility to go in,” Weems said.

Tyler McCaughn, soon to be a state senator representing the area, said officials hope to bring some sort of urgent care facility to serve emergency needs. The nearest hospitals now are in Forest, Union and Meridian.

“It’s very inconvenient especially if you have an emergency situation where it’s life and death,” said Paula Williams, a Newton resident.

Hospitals in Marks, Kilmichael, Natchez and Belzoni have also closed since 2013.