By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center in Lavonia is one step closer to finding a financial partner.
In January, Ty Cobb Healthcare CEO Greg Hearn said the hospital was actively pursuing partnering with a larger medical facility to help shore up their financial situation.
Last year, the hospital lost some $15-million dollars in bad debt and indigent patient care. And earlier this year, Ty Cobb Healthcare sold off all three of its nursing home facilities in Royston, Hartwell and Comer in an effort to keep the books balanced and save money.
On Thursday, Hearn said the hospital is now working with a consultant to find a partner.
“Recently we hired H2C Consultants to formalize that process and to widen our search to give more healthcare institutions an opportunity to express interest,” Hearn said. “We’re it the period now where we’re gathering data starting that process.”
Hearn said the hospital had originally been looking just in the Georgia area, but he said now they have expanded that search criteria.
“For some time, we’ve been talking with various institutions in the Northeast Georgia area, but our consultants said there may be other institutions in other areas that may be interested as well,” Hearn said.
Hearn said once they have identified a strategic partner, there will be more announcements with more detail.
“We’re in the early stages now to identify that partner and it could take various forms. It’s really up to the partner as to how they approach it,” he said.
Meantime, Hearn said the hospital continues to hold its own financially, but he said it is not uncommon for most rural medical facilities to struggle.
“I think all rural hospitals in Georgia struggle financially,” he said. “We’re certainly not flourishing, but we are holding our own. However, it’s important that we find that strategic partner soon so we don’t deplete the resources we do have.”
ElbertCountyHospital this year formed a strategic partnership with AnMed Healthcare in Anderson, SC.
Earlier this week, Elbert County Hospital and AnMed officials came before the Elbert County Commission to ask for financial help to cover indigent healthcare costs.
Hearn said Ty Cobb Regional already provides over $2-million in charity care and almost $8-million in uncompensated care, which the hospital writes off.
“While we would welcome help from local governments, we have not asked for any sort of help from them yet. If we did, it would be up to the strategic partner to see if that would be something they would want to do.”