Southern Regional workers raising money for hospital’s facelift

Stung by public criticism about their hospital’s overall appearance, employees at Southern Regional Medical Center have launched an initiative to spruce up the hospital. Project Facelift is an online fundraiser aimed at bringing in $150,000 to renovate the lobbies and open spaces in the hospital. That’s a much more manageable task than renovating patient floors which costs about $2 million to $3 million per floor, says hospital spokeswoman Claudia Hall. A lobby renovation runs about $50,000.

Chief Executive Officer Kim Ryan kicked off the initiative by donating $1,000. Emory Healthcare has share the project fundraiser on its website which has about 40,000 followers. So far SRMC has raised more than $10,000. The money will be used to buy paint, brushes and other supplies needed to freshen the hospital’s interior.

Project Facelift comes on the heels of a restructuring announced last month by hospital officials. The hospital cut 80 jobs as part of the reorganization which is aimed at boosting efficiencies and cutting costs,

Hospital administrators also are starting programs that focus on quality improvements and restoration of surgical and other revenues that will help offset losses tied to uncompensated care.

As part of a $50 million bailout, Clayton County voters agreed last year to help the hospital by paying off some of its debt which would free up money that could be used to run the hospital. In addition to its financial problems, patients had complained about the hospital poor appearance.

The hospital has been struggling for years due indigent care and cuts in health-care money at the state and federal level. It also has seen the number of paying patients with private insurance drop dramatically in recent years.

Over the years, the ailing hospital has invested in technology but money constraints kept the hospital from making cosmetic and capital improvements.

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