Compared to other states, Mississippi ranks at the bottom of mosts lists concerning health issues and access to health care. Mississippians are also faced with another serious problem: the closure of hospitals. 

Mississippi Today photographed shuttered hospitals across the state as more and more are closing due to rising cost within the industry. Currently, six hospitals have closed in Mississippi since 2005. Dozens more are expected, according to top health officials in the state.

Clarification 11/21/22: Mississippi Today used the Cecil C. Sheps Center for Health Services Research to identify closed hospitals in Mississippi, Natchez Community Hospital included. While the Natchez Community Hospital’s building is no longer in use, it consolidated with the Natchez Regional Medical Center to become the combined Merit Health Natchez in November 2015.

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Eric J. Shelton was a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018. He rejoined Mississippi Today as our health photojournalist in January 2022.