Possibility of a Rural Clinic Discussed by Elbert Memorial Authority Board

February 27, 2014

After a recent study conducted by Elbert Memorial Hospital and AnMed Health determined the hospital was not quite suited for critical access status, the hospital is seeking ways to better serve the community.

After meeting with consultants with the state of Georgia about three weeks ago, the primary purpose of which was to discuss options for rural clinic status, Elbert Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Yarborough explains what obtaining that status would mean.

“A rural clinic status is a special cost based status that some hospitals can use to open a rural clinic, and it helps offset some of the costs of operating a clinic in a rural area”, explained Yarborough.

Through this process, the hospital would potentially look at having an after hour urgent and minor care facility.

“When the local physician offices are closed right now the only option in Elberton is to go to the emergency department, and some insurance companies really won’t allow a patient to do that, or if they do there is normally a substantial financial penalty”, said Yarborough. “So what we are looking at, and hopefully AnMed is going to be able to help us try and see if there is a way if we can establish some kind of presence in the community that is available after hours.”

That potential clinic would also be available to serve patients on the weekends as well.

At the moment the issue is only being discussed, and no actual action is being taken in regard to the establishment of a rural clinic at this time.

Though during Tuesday’s authority meeting, Yarborough did say they were excited about the possibilities of the endeavor and look forward to exploring it further.