Four hospitals have closed in the past two years. Many areas can’t attract doctors, or have trouble keeping the ones they have. Some counties are without a hospital or other critical health services.
Those rural health care problems in Georgia were among the issues discussed at the initial meeting Monday of the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, recently appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
The panel was created to identify the needs of rural facilities and offer potential solutions. Members include hospital leaders, physicians and state lawmakers.
“The task is not going to be an easy one,’’ said state Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), a panel member who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee. “We’re open to a lot of different ideas and solutions.”
Possible remedies include a new initiative for a financially troubled hospital to downsize into a freestanding rural emergency department.
One strategy that went without much discussion was expanding the state’s Medicaid program. full story