Rural Hospitals

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Calhoun-Liberty Hospital hoped to get good news this week about its finances.

Hospital officials were hoping for loans from both Calhoun and Liberty Counties, as well as a private donation of $1 million, but those plans are falling through. The hospital is now switching to plan B.

When the management company that was operating the Calhoun-Liberty Hospital ran into financial trouble, the hospital board decided to initiate a two-step emergency plan.

The first step was to re-license the hospital to the board. That was completed last week.

The second step was to secure some operating capital. The board approached both the Liberty and Calhoun County commissions and asked for each to loan the hospital a half million dollars, and they were negotiating within a private donor for another million.

But neither county has come through, and Liberty County has reportedly decided against loaning the money. Not only that, the private donor may also have backed out of the deal.

Friday afternoon the Calhoun-Liberty hospital board met to discuss the future of the hospital.

Laddie Williams says, "We're probably going to need something from three quarters to a million dollars to get us over the hump where are reimbursements from insurance, and Medicare and Medicaid will go to coming back in."

With the help of a local bank and some civic organizations, the hospital plans to hold fundraiser in February. In the meantime, it looks like they'll have to secure a loan to keep the facility open.

Hospital board members are keeping and optimistic attitude.

"May be one small chance that it will close, but I don't think so. Were 99 percent sure that we're going to be able to keep it open."

Calhoun Liberty Hospital board members have ruled out the idea of going with another management company.

"With a community pulling together, state and local, the board is going to be able to make a success out of it."

Hospital board members say they've spoken to several management companies including Blackhawk Health Care, which recently took over George W. Weems Memorial Hospital in Apalachicola.

The board apparently told Blackhawk that they were not interested.