Last Thursday, The Georgia Senate passed a bill that aimed at helping rural hospitals that are struggling to stay open. According to WABE, the bill includes provisions to allow “micro-hospitals” in rural counties. Micro-hospitals are are a 24/7, small-scale inpatient facility with up to ten inpatient beds used for observation and short-stay use.
When a rural hospitals closes, the bill would allow a neighboring county hospital can purchase the building and turn it into a micro-hospital. So how often are rural hospital closures? In the last 6 years, Georgia has seen six rural hospitals close their doors.
Senator Dean Burke, who sponsored the bill, stated that though we most likely won’t be 30 micro-hospitals pop up in the next five years, “there might be five or six that gives rural citizens in those counties access they otherwise would lose”.
The bill would also maximize the value of tax credits a person or company can get when they donate to a rural hospital though a tax credit program established two years ago. It would also create grant opportunities to incentivize doctors to work in underserved communities and help with medical malpractice insurance.
Because the senate made changes to the legislative, the bill will go back to the House for agreement.