UPDATE…Georgia lawmakers defied warnings from hospitals in 2008, when, with a last-minute vote, they created a loophole in the certificate of need process for new medical facilities. The Legislature said doctors could skip that process to open out-patient surgical centers for a single specialty, such as orthopedics. Hospitals said that decision would add to their financial woes because they must treat every indigent patient who shows up in their emergency rooms, while surgeons could primarily serve the best-paying patients.
That same year, the Legislature also allowed Cancer Treatment Centers of America to open a hospital without showing the need for it.
On Feb. 22, AJC reporter Tammy Joyner looked at how those decisions, as well as Gov. Deal’s decisions not to expand Medicaid, added to the struggles of the only hospital in one metro-area county. Taxpayers already have bailed it out, but that may not ensure its future, she found.
Her story explains how the hospital’s mounting losses have affected patients, doctors, nurses and the community. You can read her story here.