A hospital expert is suggesting a plan to help keep two rural hospital running and to reopen one that's already closed. All three are facing financial hardships.
Gadsden Hospital in Quincy closed last year. George E. Weems Memorial in Apalachicola and Calhoun-Liberty Hospital in Blountstown were on the brink of the same fate.
Weems hired a new management company and Calhoun's hospital board members voted to take over the license and run the hospital themselves, but none of the facilities are financially flush and need help.
Alan Levine, Secretary of Health Care Administration, says, “We think the people in rural communities deserve quality health care. They deserve financially viable institutions. We're committed to that. That's why were here trying to listen to what some of the problems are and to share some potential solutions.”
The biggest problem facing the institutions is debt. The three hospitals owe the state a combined $6 million, and that doesn't count the debt to private companies.
State lawmakers who dropped by the Calhoun-Liberty Hospital Monday are suggesting a rural hospital network that will share the same resources and management.
If they are a part of a larger network, a larger system of care, they can share the resources and direct more dollars back to patient care as opposed to the administrative cost of managing a hospital.
The issue is especially near to state Rep. Marti Coley who was born in this hospital.
Rep. Marti Coley, District 7, says, “I have worked very closely with Secretary Levines off in making sure that Calhoun County has been able stay open. They had to change numbers. They've had to change ownership, so there's been a lot of groundwork that we've had to do.
Calhoun-Liberty Hospital is currently working with the state to reduce some of its debt from $800,000 down to $166,000.