Hospital Board gives go ahead for health care consolidation with city, county

Published 5:24 pm Friday, February 19, 2016

At the February meeting of the Memorial Hospital and Manor Authority, the board gave approval to further pursue the effort to consolidate employee health coverage with the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County Commission.

Hospital CEO Billy Walker said the goal was to reduce costs without reducing services.

They have met with both the city and the county leaders and evaluated the proposals. Walker recommended approval on a temporary basis of a proposal from Forsyth Insurance to conduct a feasibility study from March 1 to June 30.

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There would be no brokerage fees involved. Walker said it is hoped that creating a pool with larger numbers would make for better rates. Walker further stated that if there was no consensus on the proposed plan, the entities could still back out.

Another major issue approved by the Authority was to enter into a relationship with Capital Regional Hospital in Tallahassee to create a quality remote stroke center at Memorial Hospital in Bainbridge.

Resources would be available here so that physicians at Memorial Hospital can connect with Capital Regional Hospital and start treatment here sooner than transporting to another facility.

He stated that rural hospitals generally struggle with a lack of specialty consultations. This procedure would allow a nurse or physician at the bedside to connect to a neurologist, receive specific procedures that can be printed out and the patient can be kept here and also receive rehabilitation here. There was no cost related to this arrangement.

A capital expenditure in the amount of $229,000 was approved to proceed with upgrading the IT system, necessary to merge the different systems.

Walker introduced Dr. Aric Aldridge as the newly elected hospital Chief of Staff who will serve a two-year term.

The Authority welcomed six guests from Civics 101, a group of local citizens attempting to learn more about government agencies. They answered a series of questions that had been submitted regarding ownership of the hospital, what would happen if it were to be sold and the amount of SPLOST money and other taxes received by the hospital.

At the close of the open session of the meeting the group was given a tour of the hospital highlighting recent improvements made.

Among these was the new CT scanner now operational, and other renovations made possible by the money realized from the recent Quail Hunt.