The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) reports that it is formally affiliating with the Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC) in an effort to offer a new model for neuroscience research, education, and clinical care in the state. A news release from the university notes that the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved the affiliation; which aligns the organizations’ expertise and paves the way for enhanced services to accommodate Mississippi state residents recovering from stroke, brain and spinal injuries, movement disorders, and other neurological conditions.

Mark Adams, MRC CEO, states that, “…Affiliating will allow us to do something much bigger than either organization could achieve separately.”

According to the release, Mississippi leads the nation in the number of individuals living with stroke per capita (4.3%) and has one of the highest brain injury rates in the nation. The Mississippi State Trauma Surveillance System indicates that the state’s rate of spinal cord injury is 1.5 to two times higher than the US average. To address these issues, the partners will reportedly build upon each other’s strengths.

The institutions have coexisted on UMMC’s campus since 1975. The agreement, the release states, will eventually integrate UMMC’s existing inpatient rehabilitation programs into MRC’s seven-story rehabilitation hospital and create a collaboration targeting neuroscience projects.

“…Creation of an institute gives us a chance to be a leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation in the mid-south and is in keeping with our mission as an academic medical center,” says James E. Keeton, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the school of medicine.

The affiliation allows both organizations to remain independent but brings them into closer alignment, the release notes. Both organizations anticipate in the release that it will take several years to fully develop all the goals linked to the creation of the institute and consolidation of rehabilitation services. As an initial goal, UMMC will begin phasing out its 25-bed University Rehabilitation Center. The release reports that within 2 years, MRC will complete the renovation of its third floor to accommodate UMMC patients and about 40 clinical rehabilitation staff.

Part of the agreement also calls on MRC to follow UMMC’s practices and policies linked to serving the uninsured and indigent who meet the medical necessity guidelines for inpatient rehabilitation services. A new Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and an associated residency program may also yield from the affiliation.

The release states that the next steps that need to be taken include bringing in an outside consultant to design a detailed consolidation plan, as well as a detailed plan for the proposed institute.

Photo Credit: UMMC

Source: UMMC