Big industry is here, just needs saving

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 13, 2009

A major industry wants to grow and thrive in Natchez.

Its leaders want to employ hundreds, be a part of the community and give back to the area.

And the Economic Development Authority doesn’t even have to go after this big fish. It’s already swimming. It’s just in shallow water.

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The fish — according to the Natchez Regional Medical Center board — is healthcare.

And the water is drying up quickly.

Adams County simply doesn’t have enough doctors, NRMC leaders say. For whatever reason the two hospitals in town haven’t been able or willing to successfully recruit enough surgeons or specialists.

The result is that our residents — and our money — goes out of town.

In eight months the NRMC ER sent 420 people out-of-town for healthcare because no doctor was available to help in our community.

But this fish likely can’t be saved by sticking the garden hose in the pond.

It’s going to take a bigger, more concerted effort to refill the pond.

The effort starts at home.

Community leaders cannot just sit on the sidelines, wring their hands and hope someone else will do something. We all must get involved in the physician recruitment effort.

Although it sounds simple, improving the quality of life in the community is a great place to start. Our area is charming, but it’s not perfect.

When we all begin working together, nothing can stop us.

The healthcare industry in the area is among the largest industries we have. And we know it has growth potential.

We just need to all help weed the garden, fertilize the fields and work together to nurture the crops.