News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, July, 2, 2012
THOMSON, Ga. -- In a time where many hospitals are struggling just to stay open, University Hospital in Augusta is buying a local facility with hopes of growth.
McDuffie Regional Hospital is now named University Hospital McDuffie.
"Small hospitals across the country are really struggling in this new health care environment. It's just a very complex business now, and you need a certain amount of mass and size to make these organizations 'go,'" explained CEO for University Hospital System Jim Davis.
Davis is excited as University Hospital System expands from Richmond and Columbia counties into McDuffie.
"[Patients] will be able to get care closer to home," Davis said.
Clarence and Nell Holley have been volunteers at the hospital for more than 15 years.
"She works in the gift shop. I'm a flunky," said Mr. Holley. "I just do whatever they tell me to do. And I've gotten along pretty good."
He decided to come to a ceremony in Thomson on Monday dedicating the new signs for University Hospital McDuffie.
The Holleys are relived to hear that there will still be a need for volunteers.
"Oh yeah, still got a job," Mr. Holley said.
"This facility is going to be open for the next two years. We're going to continue to make improvements in our quality and our patient care, but in the end, we do need a new facility. This is the '1952 model,' if you will," explained the new hospital's CEO, Sandra McVicker.
The newer model will be a state-of-the-art medical facility at the bypass and Washington Road in Thomson.
"It's going to be a location where you can actually see it on the interstate," McVicker said.
The new hospital will be constructed over the next two years.
Davis points out, with the latest in health care reform, there will be changes in how people are reimbursed. But, he assures, quality of care is still their focus.