No struggling GA hospitals create stand-alone ERs - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

No struggling GA hospitals create stand-alone ERs

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By RAY HENRY
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Months after Georgia changed its rules to help rural hospitals, not a single rural hospital has taken the state up on the offer.

Concerned by a spate of rural hospital closures, Gov. Nathan Deal's administration changed rules this spring so struggling hospitals could downsize and become stand-alone emergency rooms.

Under the plan, those rural emergency departments could also offer some elective services. To qualify, the converted hospitals could be no more than 35 miles from a general hospital and had to offer around-the-clock care.

Hospital officials were skeptical the plan would save money. Consultants who constructed financial models concluded a freestanding emergency room would still take financial losses. A committee is reviewing other options.

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