- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - Singing River Health System says two primary care clinics in Gautier and D’Iberville will close Aug. 29.

“Realigning the clinics is a tough decision that we feel will help make our organization stronger without compromising our quality of care,” Dr. Randy Roth, SRHS interim chief medical officer, said in a news release Monday.

“The actions we are taking, along with issues concerning reimbursement, are very prevalent industry-wide trends,” he said.

Roth said. “As a whole, SRHS has a lot of positives that we believe affirm our commitment to providing our community with world-class care.”

Officials said patients will be directed to existing clinics locations in Biloxi, Hurley, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs and Vancleave. The clinic at the Pascagoula Walmart will also continue to see patients on a walk-in basis.

Currently, there are 16 employees - including four providers - working at the D’Iberville and Gautier clinics.

When the clinics close, six employee positions and one provider position will be eliminated. Those employees may reapply for positions as they become available.

The other six staffers and three providers will move to positions at the other clinic locations, officials said.

“While reviewing our clinic practices, we believe we can consolidate the locations we are operating and still continue to provide access to needed primary care services for our communities,” CEO Kevin Holland said.

Singing River Health System is a multimillion-dollar operation with hospitals in Pascagoula and Ocean Springs and additional facilities in George County and Harrison County.

Its annual budget is $370 million, and it serves the six southern counties of Mississippi and Mobile County in Alabama.

The health system is county-owned, and the county backs its debt, but county tax dollars do not fund the system’s operations.

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