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Business Roundup: CHC to Advise GA Critical Access Hospital

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 21, 2014

A Community Hospital Corporation deal illustrates the great financial strain on Georgia 's small and rural hospitals as a result of a decade-long decline in state Medicaid reimbursements, the economic recession, and the challenging demographic of older, poorer, and sicker patients.

Monroe County Hospital, a 25-bed critical-access hospital serving the Forsyth, GA area, has hired Community Hospital Corporation to provide advisory and management support services.

Kay Floyd, CEO of Monroe County Hospital, said the county 's hospital authority elected to hire CHC after considering everything else on the spectrum from loose affiliations to an outright sale of assets.

 "We have a very proactive hospital board that has had their mind on strategic planning and mapping the future of the hospital for the last couple of years. It took us into a pretty extensive [request for proposal] process looking at affiliation, " Floyd said in a telephone interview.

 "We were prompted by the concerns around shrinking reimbursements, some concerns that are directly related to the healthcare reform law and the shortage of physicians. We are in a community of 26,000 in the county and trying to get primary care physicians in rural communities is a significant challenge. "

In the end, Floyd says, it came down to maintaining local control.

 "My hospital authority feels strongly about keeping control of the healthcare delivery local, strongly about governance, and strongly about having the delivery site be accessible in the community itself and preserving the hospital, " she says.

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