This past Friday, October 26, the Governor's office released "Blueprint Mississippi Health Care: An Economic Driver" a comprehensive study and report on developing a cohesive strategy for promoting the health care industry as a primary force for economic growth in the State of Mississippi. The study analyzes the current capacity of the State of Mississippi to utilize health care as an economic development tool, predicts future health care industry needs, and provides recommendations to promote the development of health care as a economic development engine for the state.

The goals of promoting economic development of the health care industry are to:

  1. improve workforce development;
  2. improve quality of life;
  3. improve the productivity and sustainability of Mississippi businesses; and
  4. create economic wealth.

The study concludes that Mississippi is currently:

  1. at the bottom of most quality-of-health indicators;
  2. lacking in adequate access to primary health care, including physician shortages;
  3. well-positioned in its cost and business environment but lacks the capital (human and financial) to attract and sustain a robust medical research and development market and medical manufacturing; and,
  4. lacking in a focus on life science-related ventures, in capital funding networks, and in a critical mass of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent.

Several cities and states that have developed robust health care centers are highlighted as models for the state to consider. In order to promote health care as an economic development tool, the study recommends that Mississippi take the following eight action items:

  1. Identify and empower a leadership body to spearhead the implementation of the health care strategy;
  2. Identify sustainable financing mechanisms to fund health care initiatives and implementation;
  3. Improve rural access to health care;
  4. Enhance Mississippi's areas of excellence in health care;
  5. Enhance the statewide health care network by addressing gaps and promoting wellness;
  6. Address regulatory barriers constraining development;
  7. Enhance state competitiveness within the health care industries; and
  8. Promote entrepreneurship and small business in health care.

Blueprint Mississippi provides many additional details around these points which health care clients should review. Clients may find areas of interest that fit their business models. We will continue to monitor developments and government proposals and are glad to provide additional guidance and advice on health care issues, as well as on business development, tax considerations, and government relations.