On June 7, State Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford), the Chairperson of the GA Senate’s Health & Human Services Committee, gave an interview to WABE 90.1 in which she expressed interest in Georgia seeking a Federal waiver to expand Medicaid in Georgia. Sen. Unterman said, “At some point you have to look at sustainability. As one of those budget writers, you have to say ‘How many years in a row can we pump in hundreds of millions of dollars to hospitals that are closing, to physicians that are going to out of business? We have to re-examine where we are.” …read the whole piece here.
…and Sen. Unterman’s comments became even more relevant just hours later….
…as North Georgia Medical Center, in Ellijay, GA, closed its doors. The emergency room will remain operational under a special agreement but the main hospital is being shuttered. This is the 6th rural hospital to close in Georgia since 2013 (though one, Hutchinson Medical Center, has reopened after refinancing). A press release from North Georgia Medical Center listed the reasons for closing as a mixture of, “reduced state and federal government reimbursements, a major decline in commercial insurance patients using NGMC, the reduction of federal and state subsidies for indigent patients, and regulations which have increased costs.” You can read the Georgia Health News article about this closure here.by