Another Georgia hospital to shut down

Credit: Jason Getz / AJC

Credit: Jason Getz / AJC

The company that owns Jenkins Medical Center in Millen announced that the hospital would shut down after decades in operation.

Patients who can afford the gas or the time for an ambulance ride may now go to the company’s hospital in Screven County 20 miles away.

It is the seventh Georgia hospital to announce its closure in just the last four years.  That doesn’t include parts of hospitals that also announced closure, such as Cook County’s emergency room.

Rural hospitals are especially hard-hit.

Three days after Cook’s ER closure was announced, a tornado ripped through that county, killed seven and sent fifteen patients to the ER.  The closure was 37 days away.

MAP: Rural hospitals in crisis

IN DEPTH: Failing rural hospitals turn to taxpayers

Uninsured and underinsured patients have squeezed hospitals’ finances in the state.  Georgia did not expand Medicaid to cover the very poorest patients, as Obamacare assumed the state would.  And Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements that do arrive are unsustainably low, hospitals say.

Locals said the closure would have a terrible impact both on jobs and on medical care.

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