Retired Hospital Administrator Roger Collins, who grew up in Candler County, met with county commissioners and hospital authority members on Thursday evening to review his findings in an independent evaluation of hospital operations.

A number of key issues he brought before the group were enhanced customer service in the emergency room, improved relations between Candler County EMS and the ER, and the recruitment of family physicians and general surgeons.

After his presentation, those present discussed his findings and talked of the future of the hospital.

The authority has stated in each of the public hearings held recently at the county commission that the accomplishment of three specific tasks could help the hospital become more financially stable: 1) Participation in the Georgia HEART Tax Credit program; 2) Approval of the $90 per parcel fee to satisfy the $4.6 million debt the county incurred on the hospital’s behalf that the hospital had previously been making monthly payments on; and 3) The refinancing of existing debt so that the hospital authority can address the long-term accounts payable that has been a plague to its cash flow through a manageable monthly payment.

Dennis Allen of Queensborough Bank said the bank had preliminarily approved a refinancing loan to the county on the authority’s behalf in late spring. However, the bank did not receive the necessary documentation in a timely manner and the loan application was withdrawn. In order to be approved for a refinancing loan now, Allen said, the loan process would have to begin again.

Once Allen made this announcement, talk centered around “who dropped the ball” in completing the loan process.

Miscommunication seemed to be the key as each was looking to the other for answers regarding what information had been submitted and what had not. 

While no formal business was conducted during the informative session, it was agreed that Authority members Dale Fordham, Larry Hadden and Gail Curl would work with hospital administrators and bank officials to ensure all documentation is provided for the loan application.

The big question, posed by Authority member Brian Wood to county commissioners was “Will you support this loan?” No answers were given during the meeting.

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