Another rural hospital closes because of state's Medicaid refusal (Click on this heading to read more)
Rss@dailykos.com (joan Mccarter)
Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 8:41 pm
The Lower Oconee Community Hospital in southeastern Georgia has just 25 beds, but it is a "critical access" hospital. It's closing because, without Medicaid expansion, there are too few patients in the area who can afford to pay for their medical services.
Patients in the Wheeler County region who need more extensive medical care after the hospital closes will need to travel upwards of thirty miles in order to receive it.
"We just did not have sufficient volume to support the expenses," said CEO Karen O'Neal in an interview with local CBS affiliate WMAZ. "It's a terrible situation, and it's tragic, the loss of jobs and the economic impact."
Last fall, Bloomberg reported that at least five public hospitals in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia - including three in Georgia alone - were cutting staff and services in the wake of their refusal to expand Medicaid. These hospitals are so-called "Disproportionate Share Hospitals" - providers that serve a disproportionate number of poor and uninsured Americans, and as such don't always receive payments for the care they give patients.