What happens when a rural community loses a hospital? Jobs disappear. Hopes for economic development fade. Residents look for a new route to the nearest hospital. Georgia has seen three rural hospitals close this year: Charlton Memorial Hospital in Folkston; Stewart-Webster Hospital in Richland; and Calhoun Memorial in Arlington.
Officials from the Columbus Regional Healthcare System say reductions in federal funding have led to the elimination of 47 positions. Company officials said Wednesday that employees who are impacted by the eliminations will be allowed to reapply for other positions within the company or be offered a severance package.