Students listen to health care talks at UMMC - - Jackson, MS

Students listen to health care talks at UMMC

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By Ashley Conroy - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A group of faculty and students from the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) had the chance to hear the president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges talk Thursday about what's next for health care in America and Mississippi.

Dr. Darrell Kirch has a background in neurology and psychiatry and said the Health Care Reform Law will help with health insurance coverage, but it won't "fix" the health care crisis.

He pointed out several issues facing the state such as the high obesity and infant mortality rates.

"The real issue isn't the percent of people in Mississippi who are insured, but the real issue is how their health improves," Dr. Kirch said.

Students and faculty members from UMMC listened intently as Dr. Kirch challenged them to change Mississippi's status quo by working together as a team.

John Davis is a 4th-year medical student from Hattiesburg and said he was inspired by Dr. Kirch's talk.

"Hopefully, we can come to a state in our health care among this nation that will allow for the most collaborative means possible to take care of people," Davis said.

In addition, Dr. Kirch pointed out that consumers should have a "medical home," which would likely entail having a primary care physician.

However, he said that often he talks with students who are discouraged from pursuing this route because the income is low compared to other branches of the medical field.

Dr. Kirch said one provision in the new health care legislation is to change this.

"These students here are very encouraged as are students around the nation that one of the key sets of provisions in the bill will increase payment for primary care doctors," said Dr. Kirch.

Vice Chancellor of University Relations at UMMC Dr. James Keeton said he's excited health care is at the forefront of recent discussion, and he hopes it brings more Mississippians and medical professionals to think about these changes.

"I see nothing wrong with this stir-it-up, emotions that are occurring right now. We're going to get something good out of this, and we have to listen to all sides of the story," said Dr. Keeton.

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