MILLER CO., GA (WALB) - The rural health care crisis continues, but help is on the way. The state and federal governments are trying to help small hospitals survive.
Governor Nathan Deal's signed legislation this week that calls on communities to step up to the plate and support rural hospitals in their area, like Miller County Hospital.
"The public's got to want these hospitals to succeed and survive," said Robin Rau, Miller County Hospital CEO. "Other than just being here on that one day unfortunately when they need us."
Rural Hospital donors will receive a tax credit. The hospitals would be required to use the donations for "health care-related services" and report the contributions on how they were used.
"It gives us the opportunity to solicit funding and support to these hospitals, to each of the hospitals who so dearly need some assistance," said Rau.
Four rural hospitals in the state have closed since 2013, including Calhoun Memorial Hospital, and 15 more are financially fragile. Miller County Hospital CEO, Robin Rau has been successful at keeping the doors of her hospital open and says that the state of rural hospitals is not good in Georgia or in the nation.
"There are several others right now, many others that are on the threat of closure so Governor Deal has really done an awful lot this past year to try and help these facilities," said Rau.
Four U.S. Senators, including Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, are also working on federal legislation that would improve reimbursements for financially strained rural hospitals.
"So the Georgia Hospital Association has been working with Johnny Isakson and others to try and come up with the minimum threshold for payment," said Rau.
Organizations, corporations and Individuals can donate. The credits are capped at $50 million statewide in the first year and must be pre-approved by state officials.