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SGMC Berrien Campus Case Statement

6/22/2017


Located in Nashville, Georgia, the SGMC Berrien Campus is a 51-bed acute care hospital which includes a dedicated 12-bed geriatric/psychiatric unit named the Dogwood Senior Health Center. The hospital offers general acute care services 24-hours a day, seven-days a week, providing easy access to the residents of Nashville and the surrounding medically-underserved South Georgia cities of Enigma, Ray City and Alapaha. 

According to DATA.USA, (2015 data) households in Berrien County, GA have a median income of $31,835 while the largest share of households have an income less than $10,000 annually.  The County’s population is 19,019. The racial makeup is predominately White, followed by Blacks and Hispanics.  White females ages 45 to 54 are the largest demographic living in poverty.  Twenty-six percent of Berrien County residents live below the poverty line.  The national average is 14.7 percent. 

SGMC Berrien Campus was established to care for the sick and injured, regardless of sex, race, creed, color, nationality handicap or disability.  Today, the hospital serves patients from all walks of life.  The payor mix is 15 percent self-pay (largely uncollectable), 16 percent Medicaid, 53 percent Medicare, 10 percent commercial and 2 percent Tri-care.

The hospital opened in 1965 as Berrien County Hospital. It was bought and sold numerous times before SGMC acquired it in April, 2013. The hospital was renamed the SGMC Berrien Campus. Since that time, SGMC has invested millions to add staff, services and new construction to make it a vital community resource.  Today, the SGMC Berrien Campus is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the highest mark of quality in the healthcare field. 

The SGMC Berrien Campus offers 24-7 emergency services, acute inpatient care, lab services, medical imaging services and hospital based rehabilitation. Dogwood specializes in the behavioral health care of adults 55 years of age and older.

Over the past several years, the SGMC Berrien Campus has had its share of ups and downs.  Gross revenue declined slightly from $20 million in fiscal year 2015 to $18.8 million in fiscal year 2016. The indigent and charity losses increased from $114,000 in 2015 to $505,000 in 2016.  Patient volume has shifted from 45 percent inpatient and 55 percent outpatient in 2015 to 40 percent inpatient and 60 percent outpatient in 2016.  SGMC Berrien Campus has seen an increase in ED utilization of 12 percent and an increase of lab utilization of 16 percent year over year.  Under SGMC’s management, expense per adjusted discharge has decreased 32 percent primarily due to more efficient labor practices and supply utilization.

Although the affiliation with SGMC has added resources, technology and services to bolster medical care in the community, the needs are still great.  New construction has enhanced the façade of the hospital while interior renovations added a primary care physician’s office and new digital mammography.  The hospital needs additional funding for facility improvements, technology upgrades and physician recruitment. 

As a rural hospital, the emergency department (ED) is in dire need of upgrades.  Currently, the ED sees an average of 25 patients per day.  The current emergency room is only 1,200 square feet (4 exam cubicles) and the need is far greater.  With a generous allocation from the rural tax credit program, we could fund the proposed $2 million dollar cost of a new emergency department.

The SGMC Berrien Campus would like to reopen its operating suite.  It was closed in the 1990’s.  The proposed operating room renovation will cost $600,000 for renovation and equipment.  Because primary care is lacking, our efforts to recruit new primary care physicians would benefit from a new Medical Office Building with a proposed cost of $750,000.

For more information on the services at the SGMC Berrien Campus, contact Administrator Richard Huth at richard.huth@sgmc.org or call 229-543-8604.

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