MACON, Ga. — Two Macon hospitals, Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside Hospital, will soon have a new owner--Piedmont Healthcare. It's a nonprofit.
But Macon-Bibb County's Mayor says that nonprofit status will hurt the county's bottom line.
Piedmont's CEO Kevin Brown spoke to 13WMAZ earlier this week, saying this deal would be beneficial for the people of Central Georgia, but Mayor Lester Miller says it means the county and school district's budget will take an unexpected $2 million hit.
"This is completely a surprise to me," Miller said.
Right now, Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside Hospital pay the regular Bibb County property tax rate, according to the mayor, but soon, that may change.
That's because their potential new owner, Piedmont Healthcare, is a nonprofit and is not required to pay taxes.
"The profits that we make we put back into services into the community," Brown told 13WMAZ on Monday.
Mayor Lester Miller says this will be at least a $900,000 loss for the school district.
"There's plenty of needs to need to be met. For instance, we've been out of school, virtual almost a year, and children fallen behind, so it's gonna be a need to have even more resources put toward students in school," Miller said.
And on top of that, he says it will be an over $1 million loss for the county budget.
"We have to either increase the revenue stream by a million dollars or we have to grow the community a million dollars, or we have to make cuts up to a million dollars, and the last thing we want to do in this environment is to cut services," Miller said.
Miller says this tax loss came at the wrong time. He says when he started his term in January, he knew the county needed to come up with $15 million.
He says the county is expecting some economic development that will lighten the hit, and if voters approve a new penny sales tax this year, it could roll back property taxes and bring in more business.
Miller says he wants to be clear that he wants the county to be a good partner with Piedmont and Coliseum. He even suggested that Piedmont could voluntarily pay what they would if their property was taxed.
"If they're unable to do that from a financial standpoint, I think that another way you can do is make sure they hire people and pay them a good ways. I think that by truly taking care and having an outreach for mental health, and for indigent folks that may lead the burden sort of things that counties having to do," Miller said.
Piedmont Healthcare said in a statement that they invests in their communities, adding that in 2019, the healthcare system provided $340 million in uncompensated care and community benefit programming.
Piedmont says the deal has not gotten final regulatory approval. Andrea Crutchfield, the county's Chief Tax Appraiser, says so far, her office has not received an application for a non profit exemption.
Piedmont Healthcare Statement to 13WMAZ:
Piedmont has a record of operating efficiently and reducing costs. Our cost per unit (per patient) is less now than it was in 2013.
Additionally, as a nonprofit, Piedmont invests in its communities. In its Fiscal Year 2019, Piedmont provided $340 million in uncompensated care and community benefit programming to the communities we serve. In 2019 the Georgia Hospital Association estimated that Piedmont generated $5.6 billion in revenue for the local and state economy. Lastly, Piedmont also has a record of renovating and expanding facilities in communities that join its system, including projects currently in progress at Piedmont Athens Regional and Piedmont Rockdale Hospital.