Local Hospital Seeks New "Care" Level

In the event of an accident, getting to the nearest hospital in a timely matter is of great importance. Critical care patients have come to rely on the rural hospital to help stabilize them.

Wally Mann, a patient at Madison Hospital, says, "I would have to take a longer ride to Valdosta or Tallahassee, and the ride was pretty miserable, so I'm glad we had it here this close. They took good care of me when I got here."

Hospital administrators are hoping to take better care of patients by having a critical access facility. They say if they're granted that opportunity it would benefit the patients in the rural area.

Bob Pugh, CEO, an administrator for Madison Hospital, says, "It would help us move forward to a new facility and get modern technology to stabilize these patients so we can transfer them out in a stable condition to one of these trauma centers, and therefore saving more lives.”

Aside from saving lives, hospital officials say the reimbursement status for some patients could mean more money for the hospital.

Deena Hames, CFO, says, "It could be an improved reimbursement. Right now we're conducting a study. The study would tell us if the critical access hospital would improve reimbursement or if it would benefit us to stay as we are now."

The feasibility study should be completed in the coming months. Administrators should get a preliminary report on the study Tuesday.