SGMC absorbs Smith Northview Hospital

What could that $55 million or that $100 million have been used for that would have improved medical care around here?

Kay Harris wrote for the VDT yesterday, SGMC acquisition of Smith Northview official:

Beginning today, Smith Northview is an official campus of South Georgia Medical Center.

Officials from the Hospital Authority of Valdosta-Lowndes County and Ameris Health Systems gathered Wednesday at SGMC to sign the paperwork together to finalize the sale.

SGMC purchased Smith Northview for $55 million, with no assumption of debt. Hospital Authority Attorney Walter H. New said the purchase was financed through an 18-month bridge loan, which is anticipated to be paid in full in December when SGMC is expected to have a $100 million bond issue to pay for current and future projects on the main hospital campus.

Interim CEO for Smith Northview, Shamb Purohit, said, “This is a wonderful moment and we need to celebrate it.”

Yeah, well, he’s paid to say that. I say it’s a sad day. First Smith Hospital moved from Hahira to Valdosta, and now it’s being absorbed by the borg, er, I mean SGMC. I’m sure SGMC is a fine hospital (I’ve been to see enough people in it). But I liked going to a small independent hospital when I drilled a hole through my finger or some such.


The dozens of documents, all in duplicate, took more than an hour to be signed by all of the responsible parties, including Authority Chairman Bill Cowart, Finance Chairman Johnny Langdale, Ameris CEO Sam Lewis, and Ameris COO Robert Bauer, along with the respective attorneys. Members of the Hospital Authority were on hand to witness the event, as the transaction is thought to be the single largest purchase of its kind in the history of Lowndes County.
Why did they do it?
When the Hospital Authority first approached Lewis, he said they were reluctant to sell Smith Northview, but in consideration of the many changes coming in the national health care plan, “We decided it was in all of our best interests.
Sure, it’s somebody else’s fault. I wonder who profits by this deal.

And remember is was supposed to oversee the hospitals: the Hospital Authority, whose only web pages are at SGMC.