JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) said the state’s rural hospitals are in a financial crisis.

After the coronavirus pandemic wiped out a majority of hospitals’ savings. Rural hospitals in Mississippi have yet to fully recover.

Rural hospitals have been forced to drastically cut down on care amid rising supply costs and staffing issues. Officials said some of those hospitals are in danger of shutting down.

According to Dr. John Cross, president of the MSMA, the focus goes to patients when hospitals close.

“We’re not necessarily worried about the bricks and mortar of the hospital itself. We’re worried about the patients and their access to the physicians,” he explained. “Hospitals and these small communities need some help right away, to help meet, budget and meet those overhead expenses. We also know that long term, we need to figure out a solution to how to keep access for patients in these small communities.”

Cross said the solutions could range from loans granted by the Mississippi Legislature or more scholarship opportunities to keep physicians in the state.