Not only is the population growing, but healthcare is too, and with that comes a boost to the local economy. Stephen East, C.E.O. of Stone County Hospital, says, "When businesses look at communities they want to come into, they will look for education and healthcare. Those two things really drive them. If those two things aren’t there and aren’t strong, they tend to not want to come."
Ike Harbuck, Chairman of Stone County Economic Development, says, "Healthcare is one of the basics of your quality of life. If you have no healthcare, people have to leave that area to go somewhere else to get it."
Stone County Hospital plays a key role in the area, and while they may have started off small, they feel they can compete with larger hospitals in the state. East also says, "Stone County has the diagnostic equipment that can do anything the big guys can do. We have CT, MRI, just regular x-ray, full service lab, so we’re prepared to service this community for any of their primary care needs."
Stone County Hospital was the first hospital in Mississippi to have a 128 slice CT scanner, and increasing state of the art technology like this is helping move healthcare forward in Stone County. East also says, "A lot of people didn’t know that and it’s one of those things where we’re trying to be progressive. We understand that people want the best and we want to treat them with the best possible equipment that we have." While the hospital has state of the art equipment, Stone County officials say there’s also something else that sets the county apart.
Harbuck closes, "The people here. There’s just an overall atmosphere of people caring. The people in the communities are so involved. Hey, we’re growing and we’re going to continue to grow, and we look forward to what’s coming in the next couple of years."