Thomasville works to keep its hospital - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomasville works to keep its hospital

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 By Christian Jennings - bio | email

January 13, 2009

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -  Thomasville leaders are fighting a proposal to privatize state mental hospitals and shut down Southwestern State Hospital.

Mayor David Lewis sent letters to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other state officials. City leaders are urging citizens to do the same thing.

The Hospital is the county's third largest employer with more than 800 employees.

Thomasville City Manager Steve Sykes says if it closes, everyone in the community would be affected. 

"The employees out at Southwestern represent about two to three percent of the utilities customer base, so certainly it would affect people's utility rates," Sykes said. "The other thing is the hospital itself is a purchaser of about 1 million dollars worth of utility services a year, which affects the taxes that we don't have to levy because of those revenues."  

The Sheriff's Office will also feel the effect. Sheriff's deputies are in charge of transporting mental patients to Southwestern for evaluation.

If they have to drive hours away to transport a patient, it will tie a deputy up for a whole day.

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