Jackson County

Memorial Hospital at Gulfport makes a big move into Jackson County

The Memorial Hospital at Gulfport logo and sign have gone up on the Digestive Health surgery center and clinics around Jackson County.

It’s a major move into a county where the Gulfport hospital system has only made forays before. This makes nine clinics and one surgery center that Memorial has in Jackson County now.

Digestive Health Center is a system of clinics that have been shepherded by Dr. Alfred McNair and a team of gastroenterologists for years. Clinics are located in Jackson County, Biloxi and Gulfport.

The jewel of the Digestive Health system is the surgery center on U.S. 90 in Ocean Springs, formerly the New Gulf Coast Surgery Center, and the Multi Specialty Center at 90 Industrial Park Circle in Ocean Springs. It also has a clinic on Hospital Road in Pascagoula.

But more than a month ago, Digestive Health legally came under the umbrella of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and became Memorial Physician Clinics, according to a spokeswoman. McNair and his partners are on staff at Memorial.

“We’re pleased to welcome these physicians and their staff to our health care team as we continue to expand our medical and surgical services along the Gulf Coast,” said Gary G. Marchand, MHG’s president and CEO.

Memorial already had a clinic across from the Singing River Hospital emergency room in Pascagoula, a walk-in clinic on U.S. 90 in Ocean Springs and a walk-in clinic on Mississippi 613 in Escatawpa.

By associating with Digestive Health Centers, Memorial will focus on gastroenterology in this county, according to recent advertisements. Billing for patients has changed, the centers are now able to access all insurance carriers that Memorial accepts.

McNair and his partners are on staff at Ocean Springs Hospital, which is part of the Jackson County-owned Singing River Health System, and will continue there, said Lee Bond, chief operating officer with SRHS.

“While the presence of another county-owned system is disconcerting and unnecessary, we are actually experiencing continued growth across Jackson County,” Bond said. “Competition may come and go, but our commitment to improving health and saving lives in our community has never been stronger.”

McNair has been in practice in Jackson County since the 1970s and is associated with several hospitals on the Coast, including Singing River, Garden Park and Merit Health. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

This year he went to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors with complaints about the administration of SRHS. It runs the only two hospitals in the county — Ocean Springs Hospital and Singing River Hospital.

Jackson County Supervisor Randy Bosarge said, “He (McNair) told the board he didn’t think he was getting a fair shake with the management of SRHS.

“We were working on a change in management when he came to us early this year,” Bosarge said. “I wasn’t sure what more we could do.”

Bosarge said the move to affiliate with Memorial came as a surprise to him.

“You can’t do anything but wish the very best for Dr. McNair and his practice,” said Jackson County Supervisor Melton Harris. “We want the very best medical care for the citizens of Jackson County, no matter who’s providing it.

“In the time he has been here, he’s been nothing but very credible,” Harris said. “His patient load had grown by leaps and bounds and he is very well respected by colleagues around the state and in the nation.”