Hospital Board hears closure plans for hospital
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

The Bamberg County Memorial Hospital will close its doors on Monday, April 30, outgoing hospital administrator John Hales, told hospital board members at their April 24, board meeting. And, plans were discussed to open an urgent care facility in its place on May 1.

“I think we’ve done everything, we are suppose to do,” Hales, who noted his last day with the hospital was Friday, April 27, said that vendors, EMS, CMS, the Sheriff’s Office, governmental agencies had all been notified of the hospital’s closure and 6,000 letters have been sent out to emergency room patients that have come through the emergency room the last 12 months.

Hales noted that 911 services should be called in case of emergencies and all incoming calls will be rolled over to the main administration number. “People will field calls and transfer them to the appropriate place,” Hales said, adding “we will have a skeleton crew here working different hours and different shifts. The appropriate people will be here until the end of June.”

Hales told the board that “he had enjoyed” being here for nine months although the outcome is not what we all hoped for. “What we did do is give the community nine more months of medical care,” Hales said. Al Palmer, hospital board finance committee chairman thanked Hales for the job he had done over the last several months. “We were at a point when we hired you that we weren’t sure we would see ground again and we did, so we thank you very much.”

Hospital board Chair Dr. Danette McAlhaney thanked all the employees of the hospital for their service.

Mary Valliant, the new administrator for the regional hospital reported that plans were underway for an Urgent Care Facility (with limited hours) at the hospital on May 1. Valliant noted that the long-range goal was to have the facility open for 12-hours per day. In discussing hours of operation, board members agreed that the later the facility could be open to serve the citizens of the county the better. Valliant reported a license for a physician’s office to open on May 1 had been received and the facility was looking at keeping the radiology and rehabilitation departments going without interrupting service.

Board member Randy Maxwell asked Valliant about indigent care. Valliant noted that she had checked with Aiken, Augusta and Columbia and all their Urgent Care Centers were fee for services so for right now the Bamberg County Urgent Care Center would be fee for services.

The Board gave its permission for part of the hospital to be used as an Urgent Care Center.

In the financial report:

Hospital CFO Sally Border reported the hospital’s debt-set-off of $458,000 in February and $98,000 March still had a positive effect on the hospital’s bottom line. However for the month the facility still had a $115,000 loss. Border noted that 13-days of cash was on hand to the end of March.