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Funding for Regional One trauma center a 'priority' for fiscal year 2024, Shelby County Commission says

“Regional One is going to be a large, ticketed item that won’t be done in one budget cycle," commission Chairman Mickell Lowery said.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

Regional One Health needs some upgrades. The campus is comprised of several buildings providing inpatient and outpatient health services — one of those facilities is the Elvis Presley Trauma Center

The center cares for over 4,500 patients every year, and, as violent crime surges in the city of Memphis, the center is the primary place victims go for treatment.

It is the only level 1 trauma center in a 15-mile radius of Memphis. This trauma center serves residents in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and even Missouri. Plus, it is in need of 21st-century upgrades.  

The Shelby County Commission meeting on Feb. 3 took a first  "first look" at the proposed budget priorities for the fiscal year 2024. 

In that budget, commission chairman Mickell Lowery says a focus of the commission is funding Regional One updates, particularly the trauma center. 

"Right now we have a committee to look just that — to understand the infrastructure needs for Regional One," Lowery said. "We already fund the operational needs. We do that every year already, so there’s no change there. But the structure needs for any building. Obviously regional one has been around for some time; there’s upkeep, there's maintenance.”  

Some leaders have talked about Regional One improvements since at least 2017. Now, as it becomes a priority of a new Shelby County Commission chairman, Lowery says the process is continuous. 

"Regional One is going to be a large ticketed item that won’t be done in one budget cycle," Lowery said. 

In August of 2022, ABC24 reported the cost for upgrades to the trauma center would be about $700 million dollars. 

Leaders at the time said Regional One will cover half of the cost, and the county would be responsible for the other $350 million. 

Now, there seems to be a reset.  

While an updated price tag isn’t being discussed publicly right now, Commissioner Lowery said current discussions surrounding renovations are at the hands of a committee. 

"We need to make sure that there’s funding available," Lowery said. "It’s not going be just from us, as well, we’re going to ask for funding from the state. But we first need to come up with a plan, and that’s what the administration and the committee that we have formed now to look at those studies to determine what that funding should look like.”  

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