Georgia Heart Hospital Program funds 10 rural hospitals

Georgia heart program helps fund 10 rural hospitals
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 7:50 PM EST
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - Ten hospitals throughout rural Georgia received donations totaling more than $500,000. This is all part of Georgia’s Heart Hospital Program.

The program was created specifically to help rural hospitals by increasing their funding and their ability to provide healthcare to patients throughout Georgia.

Tift Regional was one of the 10 hospitals to receive these funds.

Experts say in the past 10 years, eight rural hospitals have shut down in Georgia. Texas and Tennessee are the only two states with more closures. Health professionals said the funds benefit both the hospital and its patients

Alex Le, Tift Regional chief operating officer, said Medicaid expansion could help rural Georgia hospitals stay open. Rural hospitals in states where Medicaid has been expanded are 62% less likely to close than rural hospitals in non-expansion states like Georgia.

“Medicaid does provide some assistance but not everything qualifies for Medicaid, so this covers the gap for the patients that may not qualify for the Medicaid or may have additional higher expenses that they can’t afford,” Le said.

Jason Morris, Colony Bank regional president, said contributions made through the Georgia Heart Program were made by Colony Bank. Each of the 10 hospitals received $50,000.

“Most of all our team at Colony Bank lives in the communities that we serve and is given the funds through the Georgia Heart Program, where it benefits 10 different rural hospitals. Most of the time, we live in those communities, so we use those facilities so being a resident of those counties we want good health care,” Morris said.

Le says Tift Regional is showing no signs of closures. He said as an operating officer, he’s thankful to have these additional funds circulating throughout the medical center.