The Valdosta Daily Times
South Georgia Medical Center cut the ribbon Monday on the new SGMC Berrien Campus, as the purchase of the Berrien County Hospital became official April 1.
The event attracted a large crowd from SGMC, the Berrien campus, local and state officials as the new sign was unveiled.
SGMC Chief Executive Officer Randy Sauls said, “We are very excited to be able to keep this hospital in this community. We will operate it as a full service acute care facility and be able to bring more programs and services to the community than it’s had previously.”
The Berrien campus has 51 acute care beds and 12 dedicated geriatric psychiatric beds.
The sale does not include the nursing home, only the hospital, but the two will have several shared services including the cafeteria and dining facilities.
Neil Ginty will serve as the campus administrator, splitting his time between the Berrien campus and the Lakeland campus of SGMC’s Louis Smith Memorial Hospital. Stephanie Fletcher will continue in her role as Chief Financial Officer at Berrien.
Sauls said the primary physicians at the Berrien campus include Dr. Rick Wheeler, chief of staff, Dr. Joe Morgan, as vice chief of staff and director of the psychiatric unit, and Dr. Donnie Nash, a family practitioner in Nashville.
Fletcher said the walk-in clinic in Nashville will be named the SGMC Berrien Family Medicine clinic, and patients have the choice of either being seen on a walk-in basis or choosing the facility as their primary health service.The clinic will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Treasure Payne is the Physician’s Assistant at the clinic, along with hospitalist Dr. Eric Davis.
Fletcher said, “I believe this is the largest ribbon cutting event I’ve ever seen in Berrien County!” as she thanked all of the employees and administrators for ensuring a smooth transition.
According to Hospital Authority Attorney Walter H. New, the facility was acquired in August 2008 by two attorneys when a loan defaulted and they never intended to be in the hospital business. Both are from other states, and neither could attend the ribbon cutting Monday, but New, speaking on their behalf, stated that they were happy to have been able to keep the hospital running for the last few years until a new owner could be found.
On behalf of the Authority, Mary Margaret Richardson said, “We will build on the good work that’s started here and our presence here is a wonderful testament to the faith you and the community have in us.”