The project includes the construction of a Critical Access Hospital for Field Memorial Community Hospital (FMCH). FMCH is a non-profit hospital owned by the citizens of Wilkinson County and Amite County and operated by a five member Board of Trustees that is appointed by the County Supervisors. The new hospital will replace an antiquated 25 bed facility that was originally built in 1952 with a new one story 62,520 SF building that will have 16 acute/sub-acute beds, two “flex beds” used for impatient rehab services, one operating room, one endoscopy room, four emergency department beds, five imaging rooms, 12 clinic exam rooms, and supporting ancillary services.
The facility will be located in a severely distressed census tract as it bears three primary designations of distress (poverty rate of 40.5%, unemployment rate that is 2.34 times the national average, and non-metropolitan) and a secondary level of distress (Medically Underserved Area) as defined by the CDFI Fund. The new facility will provide the residents of this community with additional advanced care options that were only available 60 to 70 miles away; thus, keeping healthcare dollars in this community and health care options to low-income persons unable to afford to travel for these services. The new facility will help retain 139 jobs while creating an additional six jobs in the community for FMCH, who is one of the five largest employers in the region.
The facility is certified as a Critical Access Hospital, meaning they are a rural hospital which is certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. This certification coupled with the fact that rural residents tend to be older, have lower incomes, and are more likely to be uninsured (US Census Bureau (2010), Current Population Survey, 2008 and 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplements) indicates that a significant percentage of the patients served will be low-income persons and/or low-income community residents. Based on admission and outpatient visits obtained from the American Hospital Association, it is estimated that more than 2,285 low-income persons would be served as a direct result of this project.