Merit Health Community campus to close Nov. 11

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

NATCHEZ — The former Natchez Community Hospital campus will close Nov. 11, and the week prior all hospital services will migrate to the former Natchez Regional Medical Center facility.

The closure comes as Merit Health Natchez finalizes its planned consolidation of the Natchez hospital market.

Officials with Merit Health Natchez said Tuesday the last day any new patients will be admitted to the Merit Health Natchez — Community Campus will be Nov. 8. Starting Nov. 9, all new admissions and outpatient services will be provided solely at the Merit Health Natchez main campus, the former NRMC.

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The two formerly competing hospitals — Natchez Regional Medical Center and Natchez Community Hospital — have both been owned by the same parent company since late 2014, and were affiliated with the Merit Health network earlier this year.

The hospital has invested approximately $25 million — including $12 million in construction and renovation projects to 34,000-square feet of the former NRMC campus — in advance of the consolidation.

Surgeries and labor and delivery services were transferred to the Community campus while the construction was ongoing, and Merit Health Natchez Chief Executive Officer Eric Robinson said inpatient and outpatient surgeries will be performed there through Nov. 6.

“Starting that evening and through the weekend all emergency cases will be performed at Merit Health Natchez,” Robinson said.  “All regularly scheduled surgical cases will take place at Merit Health Natchez beginning Monday, Nov. 9.”

The emergency room at the Community campus will remain open until noon Nov. 11, but any patients who require admission will be transferred to the main campus.

“Inpatients admitted at the Community campus prior to Nov. 9 will continue to be cared for at the Community campus through the morning of Nov. 11,” Robinson said.

“Any patients that will not be appropriate for discharge prior to the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 11 will be transferred to Merit Health Natchez.”

Baby deliveries will continue at the Community campus until Sunday, Nov. 8, but will move solely to the main campus Nov. 9.

Outpatient testing — such as lab and radiology services — will be provided solely at the main campus starting the same day.

With the exception of physical therapy, all doctor’s offices and services — including wound care and hyperbarics, the sleep lab, and pulmonary rehabilitation — will continue at their current location after Nov. 11.

The physical therapy program will be rolled into the existing program on the first floor of the Doctor’s Plaza adjacent to Merit Health Natchez on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

Robinson said the hospital has already begun the process of moving Community campus employees to the Merit Health Natchez payroll, and contracts with third-party vendors have been reassigned to the main campus.

Robinson said the hospital is not ready at this time to discuss how the consolidation might impact staffing.

“Our first obligation is to inform our employees regarding any adjustment to staffing,” he said. “We will make internal notifications first before we plan to comment publicly. As volume grows Merit Health Natchez, we will be able to increase staffing as needed and anyone that is impacted will be eligible for re-hire or other vacancies.”

What will ultimately happen to the Community campus is still undecided.

“At the moment, no future plans for the Community Campus have been finalized,” Robinson said. “We will continue to maintain the facility and the grounds until a final decision or disposition can be made.”