Valdosta Daily Times

June 20, 2013

Physician decision postponed

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

QUITMAN — The decision voted on and passed by the Hospital Authority of Valdosta-Lowndes County in May to allow physicians from Smith Northview to use the Ambulatory Surgery Center and the DaVinci robot on South Georgia Medical Center’s main campus has been postponed.

The decision wasn’t openly discussed at the Hospital Authority meeting Wednesday, but minutes from an executive session on June 10 address the issue.

The Authority and SGMC have been threatened with a lawsuit by several physicians who allege unfair competition, the lack of admitting privileges and issues with taking call. The decision has been postponed for several months to allow more time to work through issues between the physicians and administration.

In the meantime, SGMC is losing money, with an operating deficit of $2.8 million in May. Smith Northview likewise had an operating deficit of $1.7 million in May, with decreases of usage in almost every area reported by administrators.

For the newly acquired Berrien County Hospital, renovations to get the facility up to code are underway, according to Bill Forbes, Chief Planning Officer. He also stated that the patient tower currently under construction will be turned over to SGMC in early July for completion and should be ready for patients in late August.

In other business, the Authority awarded the Hospital Hero for the month to Barbara Thomas of volunteer services. Thomas is a retired LPN but always wanted to be a pink lady, so she now volunteers from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, greeting patients and visitors to SGMC. She also volunteers two days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Smith Northview.

Chief Executive Officer Randy Sauls stated that he is currently working on a committee with Moody AFB to help them identify areas where they can interact with the community more.