Weems Memorial Hospital

After financial trouble threatened to shut it down, 2006 will be a year of hope for a rural hospital that almost didn't make it.

It's the first official work day of the new year and many employees at George E. Weems Memorial Hospital returned to work to welcome new management.

Blackhawk Healthcare took over the hospital after Franklin County commissioners were forced to make a quick decision last week to find a new management company for the hospital after the prior one was about to pull the plug because of financial trouble.

Blackhawk has brought in retired CEO of Bay Medical Center Ron Wolff to act as interim CEO. Wolff's first day on the job consisted of meeting after meeting and getting to know not just the hospital, but the staff as well.

Ron Wolff said, "It's been an interesting transition here just learning a lot right off the bat, but fortunately we [have] a full staff of people that's been very supportive of the move, and a lot of the physicians have been supportive, and we're looking forward to a successful transition here in the next couple months."

Patricia Kelly, Director of Nurses, said, “Today the feeling’s been really positive. Mr. Wolff has come in and he has had a meeting with all the department heads, and it’s all been really positive.”

Part of Blackhawk and Ron Wolff’s plan for the George E. Weems Memorial will be to start programs that will generate revenue for the hospital.