Last week this newspaper shared information about an issue facing our local hospital system that was scary.
On Tuesday, November 4 the Baxley/Appling County Hospital Authority met with and asked the Appling County Commissioners for a $1.3 million dollar loan to satisfy outstanding payroll taxes that were owed by the system. The commissioners agreed to loan the system the money on a short-term basis. Of course this decision to loan the money to the system did not come without certain stipulations, and rightfully so.
One of the stipulations in the Intergovernmental Agreement between the two entities is that at least two commissioners and the county manager will now be ex-officio members of the hospital authority. As a result of this stipulation, it’s the opinion of this newspaper that better communication lines will now be achieved between the commissioners and the authority and this in turn should help keep situations like this from happening again.
The News-Banner would also like to thank the commissioners and the authority for the open and honest dialogue at the meeting on January 4. It was refreshing to see and hear many questions get answered in the open meeting. Let’s hope this trend continues.
One of the biggest problems with Appling County is the loyalty those who hold bureaucratic jobs have for the business community in Baxley. 90% of those employed with local government such as the board of ed., the court system, law enforcement, civil service workers and all those that have the opportunity to enjoy major medical health insurance plans run out of town for medical services in which the same services can be provided by Appling County's hospital. I notice there isn't any loyalty or support from this fraction of the community and taxpayer's are force to pay an increase to support their salaries and benefits. So when you see all this hoopla about the teacher of the year, or the great crime fighting skill from the law enforcement community, ask them where do they go for their medical care. And you ask why the hospital is going broke.
I hold one of those bureaucratic jobs, and one benefit provided is health insurance. My primary physician is local, her office is in Baxley. I do not know her business relationship with the hospital, so I do not know whether her practice could have a positive or negative effect on the hospital. One thing I do know is that the hospital is not as lacking in clients as you propose. I would like to point out that the hospital is also NOT guaranteed to succeed financially just because of a steady flow of clients. The management of the hospital has a greater impact than the clients in this matter. How can a business not pay payroll taxes? Shouldn't that amount be estimated ahead of time, before the expense is incurred, so that management can decide how to approach the issue before the money is owed? Another point I would like to mention: While my primary doctor may practice here, if I need to see a specialist for anything, I have to go out of town because
1.There is no one in Baxley who provides the treatment,
2.The provider in Baxley is not covered by my "wonderful" health insurance, or
3.The provider that IS located in Baxley that IS covered by my health insurance has a shady reputation and I refuse to risk my health for the slight possibility he/she doesn't mess up.