Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

February 20, 2014

SGMC not for sale

VALDOSTA — South Georgia Medical Center and its affiliates are community hospitals providing medical care to the region. It costs them millions of dollars each month to care for patients who are indigent, have catastrophic illnesses, or are charity cases. SGMC is governed by state law, through a Hospital Authority appointed by the city and county.

And SGMC is not for sale. The hospital system has not been approached by a buyer, has had no conversation with a buyer, has no plans to sell, and legally cannot sell even if the Authority wanted to.

That’s right — the hospital cannot be sold unless Lowndes County decides to sell it. With so many issues today, from anti-trust laws that have affected one hospital in the region and a group of physicians in Valdosta, to the new health-care laws and government-compliance rules, to the issues of providing non-reimbursed care due to the Georgia Legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid, buying or selling a medical facility isn’t as simple as some apparently think. But that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill.

The rumors of SGMC’s demise, purchase, issues, problems, and sale have gotten out of hand. So out of hand that the CEO felt compelled to address them during the Hospital Authority’s monthly meeting Wednesday.

The origin of the rumors is no mystery, and includes a small and elite group of individuals with personal issues and vendettas. The Times has spent countless hours investigating many of the so-called abuses at SGMC to find that nearly all are 100 percent false and others have only enough of a glimmer of truth to add fuel to the rumor mill. However, nothing found so far is even remotely illegal, unethical, unfair, or outrageous.  

What is unfair is that 3,000 employees are being targeted by these gossip mongers who want nothing more than to fan the flames of discontent. What is unfair is that the current administration is having to clean up the debris left from years of mismanagement, including questionable financial decisions, uncollected debts, overstated profits and inflated margins.

Those who point at the Hospital Authority need to be reminded that the only control they have is over the CEO. They can give direction and set policy but have no authority to ensure they are carried out. They only have access to the financial records they are presented. As with any authority or board, they are strictly prohibited from involvement in daily operations, personnel issues and conflict resolution.

The bottom line is that the mission of the hospital is to provide quality care to the communities they serve; to ensure that all who come through their doors are treated without regard for their ability to pay; and to be fiscally and financially responsible. Anyone trying to undermine this mission should be ashamed. The only way to stop the rumors is to stop repeating them.

Text Only
What We Think
  • Regional shopping makes sense

    This weekend is the tax-free holiday in Georgia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Focus now on what lies within

    Forty-three years ago the federal mandate to desegregate Valdosta City Schools was necessary.

    July 30, 2014

  • The Times belongs to you

    The Valdosta Daily Times belongs to you. As we move forward with new leadership in our newsroom, we want you to know about our continued commitment to the communities we serve.

    July 28, 2014

  • The art of plenty to do

    In Sunday’s paper, readers found an extensive list of shows, exhibits, concerts and more for the upcoming arts seasons in Valdosta-Lowndes County.

    July 27, 2014

  • The power of One

    Christine Batson wondered the same thing that many people wonder.

    July 26, 2014

  • Thumbs Up

    THUMBS UP: To Air Force Lt. Col. David Rayman. The 75th Fighter Squadron commander recently logged 3,000 flight hours in the A-10C Thunderbolt II. A rare feat. In presenting a Moody Air Force Base story on his accomplishment in The Times, it’s good to see the face and know the name of one of the many pilots who cross our South Georgia skies. Congratulations on 3,000 and thank you for your service.

    July 26, 2014

  • Closing another summer chapter

    The South Georgia Regional Library brings its 2014 summer reading program to a close this weekend with an event that celebrates readers and writers.

    July 24, 2014

  • Countdown for voter apathy

    If you don’t think your vote counts, talk to Ellis Black and John Page today.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vote to remove signs

    Congratulations to the winners in the primary runoff election Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Runoff election counts today

    Today is an election day that started just a little more than two months ago.

    July 21, 2014

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results