The Specialty Hospital of Meridian Celebrates Twenty Years of Caring For The Long Term Acute Medically Complex Patient



MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI…Twenty years ago The Specialty Hospital of Meridian opened its doors to provide a new service to the region – that of a Long Term Acute Hospital. Long Term Acute Hospitals (LTCHs) are certified as acute hospitals, but LTCHs focus on patients who, on average, stay more than 25 days. Many of the patients in LTCHs are transferred there from an intensive or critical care unit. LTCHs specialize in treating patients who have multiple medical conditions, who require an experienced interdisciplinary team approach to a treatment plan directed by a skilled physician.  LTCHs specialize in the treatment and management of patients requiring mechanical ventilation, surgical interventions, infection management, pain management, and patients having extreme wound issues to name a few.  These patients require a longer length of time in the acute hospital due to the severity of the illnesses.

The Specialty Hospital of Meridian is located on the first floor of Rush Foundation Hospital and is operated by Rush Health Systems.  The Specialty Hospital of Meridian is managed day-to-day by Libby Mitchell, Vice President of Rush Health Systems and Administrator of The Specialty Hospital of Meridian and Chris Rush, Vice President of Rush Health Systems and Administrator of Rush Foundation Hospital.

“As our region’s first Long Term Acute Hospital, The Specialty Hospital of Meridian has provided more than 10,000 patients with a wide range of important healthcare services over the past two decades.  When The Specialty Hospital of Meridian opened, it was only the second LTCH to be licensed in Mississippi.   Now, there are ten throughout the State.  The types and levels of care provided in an LTCH serve a vital role in the overall healthcare spectrum.  Today, we constantly hear of ‘gaps’ or ‘cracks’ in our healthcare system where people don’t receive needed services.   LTCHs play a major role in helping fill those gaps and shore up those cracks in extremely meaningful ways, particularly for the senior and elderly population.  LTAC patients have access to care and services they need in a hospital setting.   LTCHs have demonstrated time and again that they make a difference in the overall healing process and contribute greatly to the quality of life for their patients, especially those who have medically complex health issues” said Wallace Strickland, Chief Executive Officer of Rush Health Systems.  

“We are very fortunate to have Medical Executive Committee members and Board of Trustees members for The Specialty Hospital of Meridian who take an active role in contributing to the operational excellence of the hospital.  All of our Medical Executive Committee and Board of Trustees members are seasoned healthcare professionals with outstanding healthcare experience.  They have been and continue to be wonderful resources for the staff, as they are both involved and highly committed to quality care for the patients.  Medical Executive Committee members include:  Dr. Richmond Alexander (Medical Director), Dr. Jim, Matthews, Jr., Dr. Elias Abboud, Dr. Jay Johnston, Dr. Jimmy Matthews, III, Dr. Ron Russell and Dr. John Payne.  Board of Trustees members from the community include Mrs. Joe Ann Ramia, Mrs. Betty Vise, Mrs. Frankie Jones, Mrs. Annette Drennan,  Mrs. Carole Greer, Mrs. Ruth Holt, Dr. Leslie Vaughan Rush, Jr., Mr. Rick Barry, Dr. Paul Varela, Dr. Jimmy Isbell and from the health system staff  Mrs. Cathy Robinson, Mr. Chuck Reese and Mr. Darrell Wildman.  The leadership of these individuals is definitely one of the keys to our ongoing success and we are very grateful to them,” said Strickland.

The Specialty Hospital of Meridian will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a reception on Wednesday, September 24 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the main lobby located at 1314 19th Avenue in Meridian.  The public is invited to the reception.

The Specialty Hospital of Meridian is an affiliate of Rush Health Systems, which is headquartered in Meridian, Mississippi with healthcare facilities in East Mississippi and West Alabama. The organization also includes Rush Foundation Hospital, Medical Foundation, Inc., Rush Medical Group, Laird Hospital, Union, Mississippi, H.C. Watkins Hospital in Quitman, Mississippi, Scott Regional Hospital in Morton, Mississippi, John C. Stennis Memorial Hospital, DeKalb, MS, and Choctaw General Hospital in Butler, AL.