UMMC to move family clinic from Jackson to Flowood

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi Medical Center will move one of its family medicine clinics from a west Jackson site near Central Mississippi Medical Center to an office building near River Oaks Hospital in Flowood.

The university will lease space from Hospital Management Associates, which owns CMMC and River Oaks. The College Board approved leasing of 12,000 square feet from HMA Thursday, in a meeting at McClain Lodge in Brandon. UMMC will pay $1.34 million over three years for the office space.

University officials say physicians in training must see a certain number of patients to keep the program accredited and that traffic has been falling at the current location.

“Our accrediting body for residency training requires certain patient volumes per resident that we were at risk of not meeting,” spokesman Jack Mazurak wrote in an email.

He also said that residents weren’t seeing a broad enough range of conditions to “robustly” train family physicians, who are medical generalists.

Mazurak said it’s important for the medical school to hold onto its residency slots as it plans to expand class sizes.

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. James Keeton said UMMC physicians may begin admitting patients at River Oaks instead of Jackson’s Baptist Medical Center. Right now, the family medicine program admits patients to Baptist in addition to rotating residents through departments at the University Medical Center complex.

Keeton told trustees that financial projections predict UMMC will lose $186,000 on the operation the first year, but make a $44,000 profit the second year, increasing to $144,000 the third year, as the patient base is built up.

Mazurak said a closing date hasn’t been set yet for the west Jackson clinic. UMMC already has two other clinics in fast-developing Flowood.

UMMC and HMA agreed in 2011 to sign an affiliation agreement, under which they would explore partnership opportunities. Keeton has said the deal could help expand residency opportunities and lead HMA to transfer more patients to UMMC for specialized care.

For-profit HMA, which owns 10 hospitals in Mississippi, is currently engaged in a dispute with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, the state’s largest private health insurer. Blue Cross has dropped the HMA hospitals from its network after HMA sued Blue Cross, claiming underpayments. Additional patients at River Oaks could financially strengthen HMA’s Mississippi operations.

Community Health Systems, based in Franklin, Tenn., is trying to buy HMA of Naples, Fla.

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