SGMC converting Smith Northview to outpatient center

Smith Northview Hospital will be converted to outpatient services, according to hospital officials.

VALDOSTA — Smith Northview Hospital is not technically closing, but its emergency department and inpatient services will be shutting down.

A South Georgia Medical Center spokesperson confirmed Wednesday the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County approved a plan that includes eliminating services at the Smith Northview campus.

A memo circulated at the hospital from CEO Randy Sauls, and obtained by the Valdosta Daily Times, offered the explanation that SGMC

administrators recommended the changes in order to “eliminate duplicate overhead.”

The Optimization Plan indicated the measures are intended to make Smith Northview “economically sustainable.”

The plan calls for turning the hospital into what is being called a multi-specialty outpatient center.

In addition to closing the ER, inpatient acute care and surgery will be discontinued.

The Smith Northview Emergency Room will  be turned into an Urgent Care Clinic.

According to hospital officials, SGMC has not had a dedicated Urgent Care Clinic in the past seven years and urgent care has been identified as an area of need in the community.

The changes are scheduled to take place July 17.

In Sept. 2011, SGMC announced the purchase of Smith Northview for $55 million, with no assumption of debt. At the time of the acquisition, hospital officials said patients would see little change in the operation of the hospital, but that the face of healthcare was changing and strategic plans were being developed for the future of both hospitals.

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