Georgia Regional Faces Possible Closure - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/28/03

Georgia Regional Faces Possible Closure

Georgia Regional Hospital is one of many facilities that may experience the pain of the budget cut. The Department of Human Resources has to cut $100 million from its budget to help ease an expected $1 billion deficit in next year's state budget. One way to do that is to close the regional hospitals in Savannah and Columbus, saving $8.9 million, but the idea that already has opponents.

Sen. Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) wants to "do as much as we can to make sure that facility stays here because it is in the best interest of our community."

If the cut goes through, patients would be moved to what was once the central hospital in Milledgeville, and so would some employees. "Most of the employees will still have a job although it might not be here, which I understand will not be preferable," said Sen. Johnson.

But this is just proposal. It still has to go through at least three long steps before it is approved.

"There's a long process that should be very careful on whether or not this is wise financially and whether or not our consumers are protected," explained Johnson. He says this cut is just the first of many that people will be talking about.

"We may be letting prisoners out of jail early," he said. "There is a serious budget crisis."

One of the members of the board of human resources who votes on the budget is from Savannah. He says closing the hospital will be a real hardship and he will be looking into the issue. This is a long process, and we will keep you updated.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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