Improving Access to Healthcare in Southern Mississippi

The state of Mississippi has long been known for its poor health outcomes, which are largely attributed to social determinants of health. Those without a high school diploma and those who earn less than the median income are particularly vulnerable to inadequate access to healthcare. In addition, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been particularly severe in the United States, with more people living and dying from AIDS than in any other region of the country. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided a safety net for those with expensive or basic employer health plans, offering market premium subsidies and a new premium-free market coverage option for Medicaid eligible adults who don't have access to Medicaid in their state. However, coverage gaps in rural areas of the United States still exist due to limited access to private insurance.

Hospital discharge rates for people ages 18 to 64 were higher in small metropolitan counties than in metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. In addition, mortality rates from ischemic heart disease (IHD) differed by region among people aged 20 and older.

Jack Geiger's Initiative

Jack Geiger founded the country's first federally qualified health center in 1967 in Mound Bayou, a small city in the delta, with the goal of addressing the many aspects of people's lives that contributed to their poor health. This included hiring people whose only job was to improve the problems in the lives of the poor and providing an enormous amount of money to do so. HealthConnect is an agency that works to reduce admissions to Central Mississippi Medical Center, a Jackson hospital where people routinely go to the emergency room for primary care.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious biases on the part of medical professionals can contribute to racial disparities in access and use of health care.

Many public schools in Mississippi do not have full-time nurses, so Blackburn High School welcomed the opportunity to receive medical care at their facility. In addition, there are new, improved, and less invasive procedures for treating people with a range of conditions that previously could not be treated.


Overall, access to healthcare has improved over time for people living in southern Mississippi due to initiatives such as the ACA and HealthConnect. However, there is still much work to be done in order to ensure that all citizens have access to quality healthcare.

Abby Parrett
Abby Parrett

Certified pop culture fan. Friendly gamer. Professional pop culture nerd. Professional tv nerd. Freelance pop culture advocate. Passionate travel geek.