Georgia County Government - Fall 2013 - (Page 60)

FEATURE Hospital Survival: Informed County Commissioners Can Preserve Local Health Care Effingham Hospital Authority’s state-of-the-art critical access hospital exemplifies how the resolve of dedicated, home-grown hospital leaders and county commissioners can result in a multimillion dollar investment of taxes to preserve and enhance the future of local healthcare. Photo courtesy Michael Murphy of Effingham Health System. By Alan P. Richman President and CEO, InnoVative Capital >> All county commissioners should visit their local hospitals at least once a year to observe the facilities and daily operations. 60 Georgia’s rural hospitals have delivered essential medical care for decades while serving as major employers and economic growth engines. These hospitals face financial challenges as dramatic changes in the health care industry render their once modern facilities obsolete. Inpatient rooms in aging hospitals sit empty, as the needs of 21st century medicine, including modern equipment, physician recruitment, and outpatient facilities are unaddressed. The future of many self-supporting rural hospitals is poor, as profits are sparse and losses are common. While many community hospitals are nonprofit or forprofit facilities and independently owned and operated, Georgia’s hospital authorities represent a hybrid structure that require the attention and supervision of county commissioners. Under Georgia law, the oversight of hospital authorities is ceded to county-appointed hospital authority board members. Commissioners make the final decisions regarding requests for tax support, GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT land donations, bonding authority and hospital sale or closure. A community hospital not only provides for residents’ health and welfare, it bolsters job production, tax collections and real estate values. County commissioners must be knowledgeable about the hospital’s financial and operational requirements and vigilant toward management. “We have to have healthy citizens, but what is the role of the hospital in the bigger picture of the county’s own goals regarding public health and welfare?” asked Matthew Hicks, vice president of government relations for Grady Health System in Atlanta. This is not a great time to be a community hospital. Persistent operating losses have eroded most longstanding cash reserves and the hospitals’ declining creditworthiness makes capital investment and physician recruitment almost impossible. “One-third of Georgia’s counties provide financial support to their local hospitals, and many other counties anticipate funding requests during the next two years,” said Hicks.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2013

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
UGA’s Archway Partnership: Empowerment for Georgia’s Communities
Oglethorpe County: Focusing on the Benefi ts of Protecting Rural Roots
Eliminating Risks: LGRMS Celebrates 25 Years
Where Do We Stand? One Year after Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform
Understanding the Impacts of Juvenile Justice Reform
New Jail Facilities: Counties Focus on New Technology and Capacity to Expand
2013 Legislative Service Award Recipients
Hospital Survival: Informed County Commissioners Can Preserve Local Health Care
Federal New: More Gridlock and Uncertainty May Be Expected in Washington for FY 2014
Slice by Slice: Students Learn About the Signifi cance of Agriculture on Pizza Farms
Talking Trees with Georgia’s County Commissioners
Partner News: Value at the Heart of the Unique Gas South-ACCG Partnership
Commercial Swimming Pool Renovations Do’s and Don’ts
Counties & The Law: The Supreme Court, the Voting Rights Act and Georgia Counties
Legal News: Bidding in Georgia: What to Do When the Lowest
Conference Preview: Legislative Leadership
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - Fall 2013