“We had a couple of preliminary meetings with the (Griffin-Spalding County) Hospital Authority, which has the money that supports the clinics,” said Griffin Board of Commissioners member Dick Morrow, who is a member of the Board of Health.
The Hospital Authority provides money for care of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart problems or asthma to the HHC; the Spalding County Medical Clinic receives funds for dealing with acute-care issues like broken arms and pneumonia.
Morrow and several others believe that the two clinics should be combined. He said people often come to one clinic seeking care for a problem best dealt with at the other clinic. They have to go to the other clinic, which is problematic for people without reliable transportation.
Morrow met with Andy Campbell, the chairman of the HHC board of directors. After Morrow spoke with Campbell and with the Hospital Authority, representatives from the three entities got together and discussed possible ways of working together.
“I proposed this to the Board of Health last meeting,” Morrow said. “They voted unanimously to begin talks with the Hope Health Clinic about combining.”
At the HHC board of directors meeting on Jan. 21, the HHC board voted unanimously to begin talks.
“Our plan is to appoint committee members from both boards and start this process,” Morrow said.
Morrow said there are four issues that remain to be worked out.
The first is governance — how the combined clinic will be administered. The second is how to work out a combined budget.
The third is facilities requirements — how much space the combined clinic would need. It is possible that one of the existing sites would be used or that a new site would be used.
“Someone needs to pick out a location, site and design for the facility,” he said.
The fourth issue is personnel. Both entities have employees.
Once those issues are dealt with, there is the issue of hours of operation.
“Both of us would like some extended hours,” Morrow said.
Morrow said both entities have grants for operations during calendar year 2010. If the combination works out, the combined entity would go to the Hospital Authority for money for 2011.
“We have several months to work on this,” he said.