Appling Healthcare and the Baxley Appling County Hospital Authority Board recently hired a business office consultant, Ray Leadbetter, to help navigate and provide the necessary support to review and audit the hospital’s financials. Leadbetter was previously the Chief Financial Officer of Appling Healthcare three years ago and has approximately 30 years of experience in financial consulting and management.
After reviewing and completing an internal audit of Appling Healthcare’s financials, Appling Healthcare and the Baxley Appling County Authority Board made the decision to close Appling Medical Group of Vidalia and Appling Medical Group of Blackshear due to the financial stress of COVID-19.
“Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on all aspects of life, including rural healthcare,” said Leadbetter. “Day-to-day operations change, supply costs increase, frontline employees are suffering from burnout and grief, to name a few. The question is, how can a healthcare system survive COVID-19 if this is the new normal? Appling Healthcare has taken a deeper look into what can be done to survive and maintain a hospital for Appling County. Appling Healthcare has received federal COVID funding as well as funds from the Department of Health and Human Services. But what happens when these funds run out? We have to focus on the future for the hospital and community.”
According to Andrea Graham, Appling Healthcare’s Interim CEO, “It is critical we begin the process of developing the necessary steps the hospital needs to take to help maintain a functioning hospital system, not just now through this pandemic, but for future generations. Unlike other businesses that face similar struggles and forced closures, the hospital is open and caring for the community in Appling County 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It is our responsibility not to just survive as a hospital system, but to thrive.”
The decision to close the Vidalia and Blackshear offices will allow Appling Healthcare to focus on their roots in Appling County.
“We know the doors would not be open without the continuous support of this community,” said Graham. “We thank each individual or organization that has provided meals, sent cards and prayers, or made monetary donations to the hospital during these unprecedented times.”
Appling Healthcare is a participating hospital for the Georgia HEART Hospital Program, which individuals and corporate taxpayers may contribute and receive a Georgia income tax credit, dollar for dollar. This tax credit allows for Georgia tax dollars to stay local and help rural hospitals. To find additional information, please call (912)347-4016 to find out how you can support Appling Healthcare while keeping your tax dollars local.