VALDOSTA – The Valdosta and Lowndes County Hospital Authority held its first meeting of 2020 Wednesday morning. The authority kicked off the New Year discussing how to best start a new decade.

Members nominated Cooley Hobdy as a replacement nominee for Dennis Allen. The nomination is for the City of Valdosta seat currently occupied by John W. Langdale Jr. Langdale, Hobdy and Temple Israel Rabbi Moshe Elbaz are the three nominees for the seat. The next step will be for Valdosta City Council to select one of the three candidates to serve on the hospital authority.

Grant Byers, member of the finance committee, reported that South Georgia Medical Center was in the black for last quarter. Authority Chairman Sam Allen said it had been a while since Byers commented that, between costs and labor, the hospital requires roughly $1 million per day to stay in operation.

In the CEO/Administrator's Report, Ronnie Dean, SGMC chief executive officer, stressed the importance of retaining nurses and improving nursing turnover rate. He and Randy Smith, chief nursing officer, said focusing on those two factors helped retain more nurses and allowed the hospital to rely on fewer traveling nurses. Dean said SGMC had about 100 traveling nurses last year but that number has been whittled down to below 20 now.

Dean also noted higher marks on recent patient satisfaction surveys and highlighted a recent increase in emergency room patient satisfaction.

Authority members went into executive session from 8:56 a.m. to 10:43 a.m. to discus personnel and legal matters. After emerging from the session, members approved physician contracts and approved medical executive committee reports.

The next meeting will be held 8 a.m., Feb. 19, Magnolia Cafe at the SGMC Lanier campus in Lakeland.

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