After years of struggling to stay afloat, Oconee Regional Medical Center hopes to see some relief moving under new management.
On Wednesday, the hospital's board agreed to sell hospital to Prime Healthcare Services for $12 million plus additional funds to cover liabilities.
Nicole Butler spoke the hospital about their future plans and with a pharmacy tech about how this change will be affecting his business as well.
Donovan Pritzlaff works right across the street from the Oconee Regional Medical Center at Medical Art Pharmacy.
Pritzlaff says many of the hospital's patients use their pharmacy to fill up their prescriptions.
So when the hospital thrives, so do they, but he's thankful for so much more than the business. His fiancee has muscular dystrophy and recently had to use Oconee's services.
"They actually did all the tests and double-checked everything, which I really appreciated. Yeah, we had to spend a little more time there, but they made sure everything was good before they released her," Pritzlaff says.
Steve Johnson, the hospital's chief executive officer, says the care at Oconee Regional competes with any hospital in the state.
"We hit a bump in the road years ago and we're on our way to recovery," Johnson says.
Johnson says they decided to sell after facing serious financial troubles.
Oconee Regional filed for Chapter 11 protection in bankruptcy court Wednesday, and said they had more than $10 million in liabilities.
They say they've cut costs as much as they can, and that hospital officials believe their only out is a sale to Prime.
"The transition will be about 90 days. We will not miss a beat in delivery of care," Johnson says.
By going under new management, Johnson says they will save over 400 jobs.
He says the hospital plays a critical role in the Milledgeville area, and he hopes to see it thrive financially and improve.
"The future is very bright for this hospital. We've been in operation for 60 years. I see another 60 in its future. It will grow it will prosper, and we will help bring more industry to the area, and I think the area will benefit from this decision," Johnson says.
Johnson says the changes aren't finalized, but he hopes to see a cardiology department and full-time gastroenterology department as well.
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