A panel of health care and political leaders appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal kicked off its work this summer to address the ongoing crisis in rural medical care. Its focus: the very survival of hospitals outside metropolitan communities through the state.
The Rural Hospitalization Stabilization Committee is holding hearings to identify potential solutions to keep open the doors of these struggling hospitals – from Eastman to Royston, from Byron to Hiawassee, among many others.
Four rural Georgia hospitals have closed in the past two years. They include Lower Oconee Community Hospital, which suspended operations for a second time in late June – sending emergency patients 30 minutes away for care.