CUTHBERT, Ga. (AP) — A hospital in Georgia has announced it will close in October due to financial difficulties officials say was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has become increasingly difficult for small, critical access hospitals to survive in rural areas across the country and here in Georgia,” Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center CEO Kim Gilman said Friday in a news release announcing the hospital's closure.
The Randolph County Hospital Authority, which oversees the hospital, unanimously voted in favor of the move, WFXL-TV reported. “Within a few months, our financial situation would be such that we would not be able to make payroll,” news outlets quote Steve Whatley, chairman of the hospital authority, as saying.
The facility in Cuthbert “had been operating on the brink for years and before the COVID-19 crisis,” Gilman said. “Once the crisis hit, it simply pushed our hospital past the point of no return.”
Hospital officials were also not able to acquire necessary funding for critical upgrades and renovations for the facility, news outlets reported.
Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center has been managed by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital since 1996. Phoebe “has committed to placing as many” of the 50 employees impacted by the closure within their health system, the release said.