2017-05-03 / ChatterBox

The Chatter Box

By Deborah Bennett

The announcement last week that Optim Medical Center- Jenkins would close June 24th, merging services with the Screven facility, sent shock waves through the community.

The hospital has been a familiar institution here, in some form, since the early 1900’s and the announcement that it will soon cease to exist is like hearing that “an old friend” is about to die!

The obvious effects of this decision on the medical services available to local citizens include the lack of emergency care, lack of hospital care, along with the demise of all the other services provided by the hospital. And, then, there is the loss of 55 jobs and the economic impact that will have on those families and our community. This will, no doubt, create additional expenses for the county as it will necessitate the need for additional Emergency Medical Services personnel.

The blow to efforts of local leaders in their recruitment of additional industries for Jenkins County is also a consideration. It will be much more difficult to convince a company to locate in a community that does not have a hospital!

Hospital authorities have expressed their regrets at having to close the Jenkins facility, citing reductions in Medicare/ Medicaid provisions and a need to update the facility as reasons that could not be reconciled. Their efforts are appreciated as I know it was not an easy decision.

The county has supported the hospital for years by providing funds to help offset indigent care in amounts that have ranged for $150,000 to $300,000 annually. And I know the Jenkins County Commissioners are working diligently now to come up with alternative options.

I encourage them to persevere in their efforts. And I encourage our citizens to let them know that the community is behind them. They need to know they have our support! We need a hospital in Jenkins County!

Happy birthday this week to: Caleb Wilson, Colton Wilkerson, Johnny Parrish, Jeanett Cain, Janice Pylant, Donovan Sharkey, Vicki Adams, Henry Boynton, Luke Morris, Riley Padgett and Josh Lee.

Celebrating wedding anniversaries are: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hendrix and Mr. and Mrs. David Brown.

Military Active Duty

Col. James Eldridge Davis, U.S. Air Force, DoD Pentagon, Washington D.C.; TSgt. Jeremy M. Chestnut, U.S. Air Force, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS; CPT Justin G. McBride, U.S. Army, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Darryll L. Simpkins, U.S. Army, Fort Gordon Logistics Readiness Center, Augusta, GA; Tech Sgt. Stuart Burrus, U.S. Air Force, Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C.; E-4 Christopher Simmons, U.S. Army, Missouri; E-3 Ralphael Franklin Lovett, U.S. Army, Kuwait; E-4 Rhonda Lovett, U.S. Army Reserve, Augusta, GA; Airman First Class Aaron Comstock, U.S. Air Force, Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C.; E-5 She’nice Thompson, U.S. Army, 25th Sustainment Brigade, HHC 25th Special Troops Battalion, Wahiawa, Hawaii; and Major D. Slade Burke, U.S. Air Force, 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

Return to top