Moving forward

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hospital to take full responsibility for bond

LaGRANGE – On Tuesday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners approved a change in a hospital bond, so that the responsibility for the bond will return to WellStar West Georgia Health System.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners initially voted to take partial responsibility for the bond back in 2008 in order to make it possible for the hospital to fund several renovations and an expansion.

“(The commission’s) guarantee back in 2008 lowered the overall cost of that bondage to the point that it made it affordable for our community to have the new facilities that we now call the south tower,” WellStar West Georgia Health President Jerry Fulks said.

WellStar Health System requested the transfer following its acquisition of the hospital. The county never had to take any fiscal responsibility for the bond, and the commission’s decision to back the hospital’s bond was what they believed was best for the community as a whole at that time.

“There are two commissioners sitting up there that go back to 2008, and the two of us surely do appreciate being able to do what this commission board did back then, and we appreciate WellStar coming in and doing what they are doing now,” Commissioner Morris Jones said.

The other commissioner from that time agreed.

“In doing that, I think it (the bond and the renovations) made the community better,” Commissioner Richard English said. “I think some of the things that came out of that discussion helped all of us.”

Even as the hospital releases the county of liability for the bond, the hospital’s representatives expressed their thanks for the effect the backing had on the hospital as it grew to meet the needs of the community.

“We greatly appreciate the confidence that you had in us, and the health system has made great strides for this community with the south tower and other things that we’ve been able to do,” said Carol Todd, the assistant general counsel for WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.

WellStar West Georgia recently held a public hearing to allow for public comment on the bond changing to being fully backed by WellStar, but no one from the public made a comment at that meeting.