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Merit Health steadfast in service to Miss-Lou

I write today with hope for the future and gratitude for the resilience of our provider team at Merit Health Natchez.

The pandemic has demonstrated how interconnected we all are, the impact each one of us can have and the benefit of working together for a common cause.

We care deeply about our community and remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver safe, quality healthcare services.

The arc of life is always present in a hospital, but its frailty has been very clear this past year.  Thousands of patients received the medical care they needed thanks to our physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, lab techs, housekeepers, food service workers and other providers who have worked tirelessly to maintain a safe environment. Our family of caregivers put aside their personal fears and concerns and came to help every single day, with bravery and courage.

Nearly 700 babies took their first breaths here in our childbirth unit and we celebrated with their moms in 2020. More than 82,000 total patient encounters occurred through our Emergency Department; Inpatient Admissions; Births; Surgeries; Outpatient and Clinic visits.

You helped these patients walk away in better shape than when they came in — with less pain and minimal recovery time following a robotic-assisted surgery, a heart beating in rhythm after receiving a pacemaker or a smile of relief when their screening mammogram or colonoscopy was clear.

With pride and relief, we have cheered hundreds of patients who left for home after beating COVID-19. But there have been times of sadness, too, as we helped patients transition at the end of life and comforted the loved ones who grieve for their loss.

As a hospital family, we mourned the loss of our own to COVID-19, Sandra Powell, who faithfully served as a caring and compassionate nurse on this team for over 25 years.

Helping people get well and live healthier is rewarding work, and we are grateful for the trust every patient places in us. We feel the support of the community as you’ve extended thanks and encouragement through meals, prayer vigils, donations of PPE, signs, and other methods of appreciation you have shown for our team.     

Led by a local administration and advisory board of community leaders and physicians, we are putting our resources toward increased medical services, facilities and technologies that are important to our patients. Examples include more than $2.6 million in our OR Suite renovation; upgrades to signage on the first floor; new equipment; improvements and renovations to various departments; and upgrades to heating, cooling, fire door, and access control systems.

An additional service, The Sleep Center opened in 2020. Many of our physicians are now offering telemedicine, making it easier than ever to see a doctor from the comfort of home.

We value our relationship with the City of Natchez and Adams County. The more than $1.4 million in taxes we paid last year support critical infrastructure such as schools and roads.

Wages and benefits for our provider team generate buying power for local goods and services and help drive the local economy. And we deliver care for our most vulnerable residents, last year providing more than $10 million of charity and uncompensated care.

Hope is on the horizon as COVID-19 vaccinations continue, and I know we all look forward to a time when we can gather with our friends and family without hesitation. Until then, keep up the safe practices — wear a mask or face covering, maintain social distancing and regularly wash your hands. By following these simple acts we can do extraordinary things.

Lance Boyd is the CEO of Merit Health Natchez.

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