Monroe County working to keep hospital open

FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Monroe County residents will soon be able to vote on whether or not Monroe County Hospital will shut down. County commissioners announced options for the future of the hospital earlier this week at a meeting.

Larry Evans may be a Monroe County commissioner, but before that, he’s a proud Monroe county resident.

“I’ve been a resident here for 67 years,” Evans said. “This hospital has been here since 1957. I was about 8, 9 years old when they built the original building over there. This hospital has served the community well.”

That’s why he’s fighting hard to keep the Monroe County Hospital up and running.

The hospital is six million dollars in debt. Administration has tried everything to keep the facility open. Last summer, Navicent Health partnered with the hospital to help.

“Assess the situation, see where the hospital’s at,” said Navicent Health employee, who now works at Monroe County Hospital, Darren Pearce. “Put things in place to make better processes so the hospital runs better. Bring in the correct people, making sure we’ve got the right people with the right jobs doing the right things.”

It still wasn’t enough. The hospital doesn’t have the funds to keeping serving the area. So administration and commissioners came up with options.

The first option, “Basically, closing the hospital systematically within three to six months,” said Evans. Option two would, “keep the hospital open, and it would require ten million dollars.”

These options are being left to residents to vote on March 21st. Option two would require an increase in resident’s taxes.

“It will only increase average tax payer’s house, $100,000 dollar house,” explained Evans. “Their taxes will go up approximately thirty dollars a year.”

If option two gets approved in March, many changes will be made to the hospital. One of them being, they would go from 25 beds to just 5 or 10.

“We’re going to down size the in patient side of the hospital,” said Monroe County Hospital Chairman, Tony Ussery. “It will then allow us to save some over head costs of that nature.”

The hospital would keep the emergency room. Commissioner Evans says the hospital is essential for many Monroe County residents.

“We have people that don’t have insurance and this hospital does about 700,000 dollars worth of indigent care,” Evans said. “Care that they do not get paid for.”

Many would also have to travel about forty minutes to another hospital, but Commissioner Evans is hopeful the people of Monroe will vote for option 2 and keep the Monroe County Hospital.

Categories: Local News, Monroe County

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