South Georgia Medical Center maintains small profit margin - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia Medical Center maintains small profit margin

By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Many hospitals are taking a financial hit because of Medicaid cuts and shrinking investments. Approximately one-third of all Georgia hospitals are now operating in the red.

Thanks to spending cuts and careful planning, South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta is still turning a small profit.

"We do everything we can to be frugal and manage appropriately and to try and produce a bottom line.  It's very important to our future success," says hospital CEO James McGahee.

The hospital is cutting back on new purchases that would have been paid for with a funded appreciation account.

"Those funds generally earn several million dollars a year. Basically, right now, we're earning zero on those funds. A lot of those funds were invested in money market accounts which are not paying anything now," explained McGahee.

Employee pension plans, which are invested in the stock market, have depleted, leaving little money for new hires.  To save on expenses, the hospital has mandated a hiring freeze on jobs not directly related to patient care.  This includes office and administrative positions.

Even though emergency rooms across the country becoming more crowded, many of these patients have no insurance or can't afford treatment. 

"First of all, we're not going to turn those patients away," said McGahee.  "Yet, we're being asked to provide in the highest cost environment.  So, even though there's more patients, it actually results in a greater loss to the hospital."

Despite these losses, the meticulous planning of South georgia Medical Center has kept it from falling into the red.

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