April

Dr. Edwin Harmon, professor and chief of pediatric urology, greets patient Caleigh Kelly of Mount Olive and her mother, Savannah Hollingsworth, at the Eli Manning Children's Clinics.
Dr. Edwin Harmon, professor and chief of pediatric urology, greets patient Caleigh Kelly of Mount Olive and her mother, Savannah Hollingsworth, at the Eli Manning Children's Clinics.
Main Content

Children's of MS economic impact nears $349M

Published on Thursday, April 5, 2018

Media Contact: Annie Oeth

Children’s of Mississippi is dedicated to improving the health of the state’s children, but it’s also helping to make the state’s economy more robust.

According to an internal study, the direct economic impact of Children’s of Mississippi, which includes Batson Children’s Hospital and all University of Mississippi Medical Center pediatric care, is estimated at nearly $349 million for fiscal year 2018. That includes 3,926 full- and part-time jobs generated and nearly $185 million in total labor income.

State appropriations for FY 2018 are expected to be about $19 million.

By FY 2022, that economic impact is projected to be $371 million, and 4,162 jobs generated in the state, but state appropriations are only expected to rise to $20 million.

“What Children’s of Mississippi does for the state economically is tremendous, but what it does as an organization for the health of our children is its true value,” said Scott Waller, president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council. “From the business community’s perspective, we understand the value of having strong, healthy families, and the value of having a children’s hospital there when it is needed.”

What those figures include is the construction of a new $180 million children’s tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital, a project that will involve about 40 contractors and more than 700 workers over the course of construction.

“This tower is one of the state’s largest construction projects,” said Patrick Casey, executive director of UMMC’s Office of Planning, Design and Construction, “and it is certainly the most meaningful.”

Confetti and cheers surrounded leaders in government and medicine, patients and their families as they broke ground Dec. 1, 2017 for a new children's tower adjacent to Batson Children's Hospital.
Confetti and cheers surround government and medical leaders, patients and their families on Dec. 1, 2017, as ground is broken for a new children's tower adjacent to Batson Children's Hospital.

The seven-story tower will be home to 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 10 additional operating rooms, more pediatric intensive care space, a pediatric imaging center, a specialty clinic and a new lobby. The Children’s Heart Center, representing the Medical Center’s pediatric cardiovascular program, will also call the new building home.

Ground was broken Dec. 1 on the 340,000-square-foot facility, which is set to open August 2020.

“This tower will help bring about a transformation in children’s health care in Mississippi,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “It will provide space where the state’s smallest and sickest babies can have their families close by, where children can get life-saving surgery and where they can get imaging and specialty care designed just for them.

“While this project, as well as Children’s of Mississippi as a whole, is making a huge economic impact,” Woodward said, “its real importance is in the lives it will touch.”

The majority of the tower’s cost – $100 million – is being paid for through private donations. To support the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi or to learn more, visit growchildrens.org.

Hospital admissions for this fiscal year are expected to be 7,033, but by 2022, with the new children’s tower at Batson open, admissions are expected to see a 9 percent increase, to 7,665.

Construction of the new Children's tower is underway beginning with a new access road from East University Drive.
Construction of the new Children's tower begins with a new access road from East University Drive.

The new tower will also attract physicians to a state where, according to an Association of American Medical Colleges report, two out of three counties are designated as health professional shortage areas.

Children’s of Mississippi leaders anticipate recruiting 30-40 new physicians in the next five years as the facility is built and after it’s opened, since it will provide additional capacity. At a minimum, about 50-75 staff positions, not including physicians, would be added after construction.

“UMMC has always attracted the best and the brightest,” said Dr. Mary Taylor, professor, Suzan B. Thames Chair and chair of Pediatrics, “but with a new-state-of-the-art children’s hospital, our campus will be even more of a site for leading physicians to provide care, to educate the next generation of pediatricians and to conduct groundbreaking research.”