Murray Medical Center may be forced to close doors for good
CHATSWORTH, MURRAY COUNTY (WRCB) - The medical care many North Georgians depend on is in danger. Murray County's Medical Center is on the brink of closing its doors for good.
They've been granted 30 days to resolve the problems.
As usual, the issue is money. The medical center leases the facility from The Hospital Authority of Murray County. Both want the center to stay open, but things need to change.
"No organization can exist long term without being able to break even," says Murray Medical Center administrator Jim Hazel.
They haven't been breaking even for a while.
It all started in 2005, when the community was deemed a metropolitan area instead of a rural community. Meaning the hospital lost the trust fund that helped those who couldn't pay.
"We lost $891,000 as a result of that," Hazel explains. "Then in 2006, we started losing money."
Factor that in with the bad economy, and here they are today, on the brink of closing Murray County's only hospital. An idea the Chamber of Commerce says would be devastating.
"If our hospital closes, economical development is going to be drastically hurt," says Dinah Rowe with the chamber of commerce.
Rowe says it's not just the money. She says when dealing with health, especially trauma centers, every second counts. If it closes, patients would have to drive much further to Dalton or Chattanooga.
"Time is important in the event of a trauma or other things when you need air," says Hazel. "You have to get that within minutes, to save tissue and to save lives."
For now both sides are in discussion, they couldn't tell us exactly what they plan to change.
But chairman of the Hospital Authority Rick Bagley said over the phone, he wants to see the facility remain open. And they are covering any losses of money during this 30 day extension as they work for a way to make the center financially viable.
"We are pleased to have this additional time to work on the options that are being explored," says Hazel.
The medical center initially asked for a 90 day extension, but they agreed on 30 days.
Both sides are remaining optimistic. As soon as a decision is made we will let you know.