A new twist in the story on the future of Milledgeville's hospital.

Last month, we told you that Oconee Regional Medical Center officials agreed to sell the hospital to a California company.

But on Friday, Oconee Regional said federal bankruptcy judge Austin Carter approved a sale to Navicent Health, the medical conglomerate based in Macon.

So far, the sale price has not been disclosed. According to Oconee's news release, the sale needs approval from the Georgia Secretary of State's office and is expected to close in mid-August.

Oconee Regional filed for bankruptcy protection in May, saying they had more than $10 million in liabilities.

On Friday, the office of Austin Carter, the bankruptcy judge, said he hadn't approved an order for the sale yet. and we could not reach Navicent officials for comment.

According to their news release, Steven M. Johnson, Oconee's interim chief executive officer, said, "While we are grateful for Prime's interest, we are excited for this new opportunity with a respected, regional partner who understands our values, our culture, and our community. Our goal when we began this process over a year ago was to maintain a viable hospital in Baldwin County. We are proud to have accomplished that goal and believe patients and their families will be well served by Navicent long into the future."

Three years ago, Navicent reached an agreement to help manage Oconee Regional, but they ended the partnership within months after Oconee doctors, patients and board members complained about management changes.