There are many health care services in Harrison County for military, civilians and veterans, though implementation of the Affordable Care Act may change established insurance options. Open enrollment for health care coverage under the national Affordable Care Act runs from Nov. 1, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016, for coverage starting in 2016. For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov.
See the Advertiser Directory in this guide to connect with local hospitals and medical centers, health care centers and health care providers.
Community Health Care Clinics and Resources
A community health center or clinic is customarily the place to go for those who have no health insurance or have limited income or ability to pay medical fees. Such clinics accept most insurances and provide affordable, comprehensive health care by well-trained, professional staff. They also serve those who are uninsured and underinsured, and most are open to making sliding scale payment arrangements based on income and family size.
For a full list of community health centers in Mississippi, visit the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association website and select “About Community Health Centers” and then “Browse Health Centers.”
The Mississippi Dental Associationwebsiteis a useful place to start in finding a dentist. Select “For the Public” from the home page and select “Find a Dentist” to find or verify a dentist. You can also seek referrals from people you know who’ve had dental care in the area.
Consider the following to find the best dentist for your needs:
- Are the office hours convenient for your schedule?
- Is the dental office close to your home or office?
- How are dental emergencies handled?
- Does the office appear to be clean and well organized?
- Is the staff helpful and friendly?
- What are the financial policies and how is insurance handled?
A good relationship with your dentist is essential to good oral health care. So, take your time and choose one whom you and your family feel comfortable with.
The Dental Oral Health Office of the Mississippi State Department of Health can give you tips for oral health and low-cost dental care. Visit its website at www.healthyms.com/HealthyLiving/_static/47,0,278.html.
Finding a Local Doctor
The best rule in finding a health care provider in a new location is the sooner, the better. Before arriving at your new assignment, check the Mississippi Doctors’online directory. You can browse for a provider by type or by location. Personal referrals from friends or other medical personnel can add to your options.
Building trust with a health care provider takes time, so don’t wait until a family member is ill to find a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care provider.
Keep in mind the following tips and questions as you look for a health care provider:
- Ask health insurance plans and medical offices for information on their doctors’ training and experience.
- Use AMA Resources for Patients, the American Medical Association’s free physicians’ information service at www.ama-assn.org.
- Has the doctor completed several years of training in a specialty and passed an exam? Check out the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org, call 866-275-2267 or write to the ABMS, 353 N. Clark St., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60654.
- Has anyone registered a complaint or taken disciplinary action against the doctor? To find out, check outthe Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure or call 601-987-3079.
Call the doctor’s office and ask for an appointment. Most doctors will take time to meet potential patients, but you should expect a nominal fee for the use of his or her time. When you meet a doctor and the staff for the first time, consider the following:
- When scheduling the appointment, was the receptionist friendly, prompt and professional? Did he or she take time to answer your questions? Were you left on hold too long? Did the receptionist seem knowledgeable about the workings of the office?
- When you arrived, were you greeted promptly? Was the reception area clean and comfortable? Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions?
- Did you have to wait long in the exam room before the doctor arrived? Was the exam room orderly and clean, with a chair for a family member to sit in?
- When the doctor arrived and introduced himself or herself, was it with a smile? Did the doctor seem rushed or tired? Did you get a good first impression? Did you feel comfortable revealing personal information?
- During the consultation, did nurses or assistants pop in and out? Did the doctor leave the room during your conversation? Did the doctor seem caring, compassionate and sympathetic to your concerns? Did the doctor rush through the meeting? Did the doctor seem relaxed? Did you feel as though you were the only patient the doctor had to see that day?
Treat finding a doctor as seriously as looking for a new job or a new home. Depending on the length of time you will be in the area, this relationship is a long-term commitment, and you want to be comfortable with the person who will see you while you are most vulnerable.
Veterans in Harrison County are served within Veterans Integrated Service Network 16 — the South Central VA Health Care Network, with the nearest major service center in Biloxi, Mississippi, about 4 miles from Keesler Air Force Base. VISN 16 serves more than 445,000 veterans each year with 10 medical centers and 40 community-based outpatient clinics throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and portions of Texas, Missouri, Alabama and Florida. The closest subsidiary outpatient clinics are in Mobile, Alabama; Hattiesburg; and McComb.
Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board
P.O. Box 5947
Pearl, MS 39288 | 601-576-4850
VA Crisis Hotline | 800-273-8255
The Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board improves the quality of life for Mississippi’s veterans, military and their families by increasing awareness and access to appropriate federal, state and local resources. Veterans within the state can receive health care from a variety of facilities, including two hospitals, 10 community-based outpatient clinics and four veterans homes. Combat veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after Jan. 28, 2003, are eligible to enroll for enhanced care in the VA health care system for five years from their date of discharge or release. The enrollment period begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active-duty service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date. Veterans, including activated reservists and National Guard members, are eligible if they served on active duty in combat after Nov. 11, 1998, and have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Go to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/returning_servicemembers.asp.
Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
400 Veterans Ave.
Biloxi, MS 39531 | 228-523-5000
Toll free | 800-296-8872
The VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System is a general medical and surgical hospital. It offers a wide range of services from preventive to primary care, and outpatient services including neurological and mental health care. Additionally, it provides support to readjustment counseling centers and VA national cemeteries along the Gulf Coast. The system also has outpatient clinics in Mobile, Alabama; Eglin, Florida; Pensacola, Florida; and Panama City, Florida.
G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center
1500 E. Woodrow Wilson Drive
Jackson, MS 39216 | 601-362-4471
The G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center offers a broad spectrum of inpatient and outpatient health care services, including neurological and mental health care. Services range from disease prevention to primary care, complex surgical procedures, substance abuse treatment, post-traumatic stress disorder and rehabilitation programs. Comprehensive health care is available for female veteran patients. A community living center, community nursing homes, three state veterans nursing homes, VA community clinics and outpatient programs are used to support the needs of aging veterans.
Because emergencies don’t announce themselves, it’s prudent to know where to go when they happen. Saving minutes in a crisis can mean saving a life. Knowing what services are available, and where, can make all the difference. In life-threatening situations, call 911 immediately and follow dispatcher instructions.
Merit Health Biloxi (formerly Biloxi Regional Medical Center)
150 Reynoir St.
Biloxi, MS 39530 | 228-432-1571
Garden Park Medical Center
15200 Community Road
Gulfport, MS 39503 | 228-575-7000
4500 13th St.
Gulfport, MS 39501 | 228-867-4000
Select Specialty Hospital – Gulf Coast
1520 Broad Ave., Suite 300
Gulfport, MS 39501 | 228-575-7566
Public Health Care
Mississippi State Department of Health
570 E. Woodrow Wilson Drive
Jackson, MS 39216 | 601-576-7400
The state department of health works to monitor disease and coordinate all statewide immunization programs; protect the environment by testing drinking water, inspecting and permitting restaurants and regulating wastewater and sewage systems; prevent disease and injury through tobacco cessation programs, nutritional information and fire safety; offer chronic disease prevention and management for diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cancer; ensure proper standards of care in health care facilities and child care facilities, and professional licenses such as occupational therapists and tattoo operators; keep residents safe in emergencies with severe weather/disaster awareness and regular training for preparedness and response plans; and provide real-time information about notifications, emergency updates and outreach efforts. For more information, visit the Mississippi State Department of Health website.
Health Care Association, Inc.
6400 Lakeover Road, Suite A
Jackson, MS 39213 | 601-981-1817
Mississippi Primary Health Care Association, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that works to improve access to health care for the medically underserved and indigent populations of Mississippi. The association provides a statewide list of community health centers, whose goal is to make primary health care services available to all Mississippi residents regardless of financial or insurance status. Patients who can afford to pay are expected to pay. Medicare and Medicaid patients are always welcome, and insurance companies are billed on behalf of patients with coverage. For the complete list of community health centers, go www.mphca.com and select “About Community Health Centers” and then select “Browse Health Centers.” The following center is in Harrison County; it has several satellite clinics, whose locations are available on its website.
Coastal Family Health Center
1046 Division St.
Biloxi, MS 39530 | 228-374-2494
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Harrison County Health Department
1102 45th Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39501 | 228-863-1036
761 Esters Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39530 | 228-435-3641
The county health department provides immunizations, family planning, WIC, social services and applications for birth and marriage certification.