Cuthbert seeking grant money for a new hospital

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 9:09 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A community is still suffering one year after it’s only hospital closed down, but a grant might bring hope for Randolph County residents.

One ambulance and a CareConnect Convenient Care medical facility that is open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. is all the residents in Cuthbert can depend on for emergency care.

“9 at night ‘til 9 in the morning,” said Cuthbert Mayor Steve Whatley. “We have about a 12 hour void now.”

The hospital was one of 19 rural hospitals to shut down in 2020.

Mayor Whatley says not only was funding an issue, but a big portion of the problem was the building itself.

“New roof, new chiller, ventilation problems, severe ventilation problems,” said Whatley.

When the hospital shut down, Whatley says about 50 jobs were lost.

However, jobs weren’t the only things lost. Mayor elect Bobby Jenkins says Cuthbert lost its physicians.

“People use the emergency room as their family physician. If something happens they don’t have insurance so again they go to the emergency room for any little thing,” said Jenkins.

All this could change with the approval of a USDA grant/loan Mayor Whatley has applied for. The grant would give the city $7.5 million and the rest a loan for $2.5 million.

“We’re hoping for a 24-hour emergency room with diagnostics and to be able to treat people, stabilize them and keep them there for up to 24 hours,” said Watkins.

With this they could pursue several different options, two of those options being to fix the old building up and re-open the hospital or rebuild a brand new one.

“Sustainability is the issue to get whatever we put in, even if we get the money to build it, to be able to cash flow it and stay there,” said Whatley.

Re-opening the hospital was the crux of Jenkins’ campaign and he says he is happy to see action being taken to bring back emergency care.

“As I said, that was number one on my platform. I’m pleased that process is underway. We won’t stop, we won’t rest until we get some 24 hour medical services,” said Jenkins.

This grant is crucial to bringing back 24-hour healthcare to Cuthbert and the surrounding areas.

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