Southern Regional get $500,000 for bill; its future still unclear

Clayton County has given Southern Regional Medical Center $500,000 to pay a pharmaceutical company but the Riverdale hospital’s financial future remains uncertain.

County commissioners are expected to take up the hospital’s financial needs in a special-called meeting on Monday at 10 a.m. to adopt the county’s fiscal 2016 budget. Southern Regional has said it needs the county’s continue financial support to keep its doors open but as it stands now the county’s budget does not include any money for the ailing hospital.

Officials with the county and the hospital were in meetings all day Wednesday to try to hammer out a plan for the hospital, chairman Jeff Turner said Wednesday.

“We’re trying to prepare something for Monday’s meeting,” Turner said. “We’re looking at options to see if we’re going to be abel to help the hospital. If so it will likely be included in the budget.”

Southern Regional has been struggling for awhile burdened by cuts in federal and state aid and an overwhelming amount of free care to patients who can’t pay. At the same time, the hospital has seen the number of patients with insurance go to other area hospitals. Last year, county voters agreed to a $50 million bailout for the hospital as part of a Special Local Option Sales Tax plan. That money was chiefly used to pay down some bonds. Hospital officials

Monday’s special-called commission meeting will be in the county administration building at 112 Smith St. in Jonesboro.

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