PHOTO by Robin Postell, of Hospital Authority Chairman Sam Allen and new Director of Human Resources, Letitia Woods
VALDOSTA – On Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at 8 a.m., the Hospital Authority of South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) held a meeting to discuss general business – and major changes.
As a public hospital, an eight-member Hospital Authority governs SGMC. Both the City Council of Valdosta and the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners appoint the representatives who serve on the Authority. Each group appoints four representatives who each serve a five-year term. Authority members are community leaders who serve the hospital voluntarily. It’s a labor-intensive job for which no Authority member receives any monetary compensation. In terms of governance, the Authority has the ultimate decision-making ability when it comes to the hospital. The Authority is subject to the Hospital Authorities Law of the Code of Georgia.
After crucial scrutiny from the Joint Commission recently – which has threatened it’s accreditation – SGMC’s Hospital Authority heads have had to come together and find new ways of dealing with nagging issues.
The meeting addressed the possibility of restructuring its corporate leadership, since the departure of former CEO Ross Berry brought with it controversy and general discomfort. This would entail leasing its current assets to a nonprofit organization, which would require its own separate board.
“A lot of our hospitals in this area have already restructured or are in the process of restructuring,” said Hospital Authority Chairman Sam Allen. “So, we just want to explore the possibility of whether or not it would be beneficial to South Georgia Medical Center.”
Allen questioned legal counsel whether SGMC was the “last of the Mohicans” regarding this type of restructuring. Tift Regional, it was pointed out, was the last before SGMC to restructure.
The Joint Commission will also be conducting its three-year annual survey, something SGMC has been preparing for diligently to improve their ratings.
Also discussed was the continued search for a permanent CEO, to replace Ross Berry who left after a short tenure at SGMC’s helm. Bill Forbes is currently the interim, who will remain in place until a replacement has been acquired.
Allen also introduced the newest member of SGMC’s staff, Leticia Woods, who is the new Director of Human Resources.