Valdosta, GA – The Hospital Authority of Valdosta & Lowndes County, Georgia, d/b/a South Georgia Medical Center (Hospital Authority) has entered into a definitive agreement with Lanier Health Services, Inc. to transfer ownership of Lanier Health Services, Inc. d/b/a Louis Smith Memorial Hospital and Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center effective May 1, 2014.
At that time, Louis Smith Memorial Hospital and the Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center will be owned and operated by the Hospital Authority and will be renamed the SGMC Lanier Campus and the SGMC Lakeland Villa. Neil Ginty will remain in his long-term role as hospital administrator. There are no plans to change staffing or repurpose the facility at this time.
Lanier Health Services, Inc. was established as a private, not-for-profit corporation in 1993 and assumed operations of the hospital and nursing home from Adventist Health/Sunbelt Health Corporation of Orlando, Florida. Lanier Health Services, Inc. contracted with the Hospital Authority for day-to-day management and operation of the facilities. Under the Hospital Authority’s management, both the hospital and nursing home have successfully provided improved healthcare services for the citizens of Lanier and surrounding counties.
Several of the most notable accomplishments are a major renovation in 1997 which added the Roquemore Professional Building, the conversion of the hospital to a 25-bed Critical Access hospital with swing beds and general acute inpatient services and the continued operation of a 24-hour emergency room. Over the years, Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center has been highly utilized and maintains full occupancy.“On May, 1st, under the full ownership of the Hospital Authority, the hospital and nursing home will become public, not-for-profit facilities,” said SGMC Chief Executive Officer Randy Sauls.
“This transfer of ownership was prompted by increasing awareness of threats to small community hospitals and our determination that direct ownership will provide greater economic successes for the hospital and nursing home moving forward. ”Our future plans include numerous improvements to the campus such as new logos and signage and continued development of the grounds and facilities including a $10 million investment in a replacement nursing home.
Sauls said, “The local medical staff members including Dr. Bruce Herrington, Dr. Benjamin Bailon, Dr. Jon Williams, and Dr. Eric Castor have been extremely supportive of this venture and see its benefits in terms of more direct referral networks and a continuum of healthcare services through a consolidated SGMC brand.”
“We see this integration as a way of strengthening clinical operations while continuing to enhance the programs and services of the Medical Center,” Sauls concluded. “An eight-member advisory board of Lanier County residents is being formed to collaborate with the Hospital Authority and provide local input. Our long-term goals are to continue to offer the services and high levels of support the people of Lanier County have come to expect.
”SGMC remains committed to the provision of high-quality health care in Lanier and surrounding counties and welcomes the opportunity to associate its name with both the hospital and nursing home and their reputations for high quality health care.