We need to crawl before we walk. I’m referring to our hospital in Quincy, actually our emergency facility that is working superbly.
Gadsden Memorial Campus, a branch of Capital Regional Medical Center, administers emergency health care and then transfers patients who need more acute care to the regional hospitals in Tallahassee. Fortunately I have no first-hand experience with the facility to date but know many friends and family members who have been treated there. They all had positive experiences, from the time it took to get treated to the treatment itself.
Just announced and now operational are specialist services at the facility. This is the next step in offering broader hospital services. It’s part of a plan to grow the facility, which in turn justifies more expansion.
But we’re having to crawl first.
We all would like to see beds at the hospital for patients requiring overnight stays. It would be much more convenient to visit a loved one in Quincy than traveling to a Tallahassee facility. But at this point, beds can’t be justified. It would take a sizeable investment to provide overnight staff, including doctors, for a small number of patients.
If you remember, the hospital was forced to close by the state in November 2005 after previous owner Ashford Healthcare Systems could not pay the bills. The utility bill alone was enormous. Not only was the hospital behind in payments but the facility went lacking. It was unclean, understaffed and under-equipped. In a 2004 study, the daily patient count averaged 2.9.
Adding beds at this point would be detrimental. The patient count is too low and the investment too high to pay for itself. Unless taxpayers are willing to pay a subsidy, I don’t see it working.
We are very fortunate that our medical facility is part of a large hospital corporation. And the care being provided is excellent. Jeopardizing that would be foolish. This county has too many residents to be without a medical facility – especially for emergency, lifesaving care. A trip to Tallahassee might be inconvenient but residents can take comfort in knowing immediate care is close at hand. It’s far better than having no treatment at all.
As we’ve already experienced time and time again with our hospital, it could be a lot worse.