• 70°

Hale Co. hospital to receive $1.7 million renovation

The CEO and head administrator of the Hale County Hospital Richard McGill wants some help repairing his aging building and he would also like some respect. He has been in charge for eight years now and has led the hospital in a total rebirth.

When he first took over the position the hospital was in debt to the tune of 2.4 million dollars as well as not having any doctors on the payroll because the two they did have had their own private clinics.

McGill said the hospital was pretty much on the verge of closing, so the hospital passed a bond issue back in 1997 too free up some money.

He also said that when he started the morale of the employees was very low, but he knew he could turn this ship around.

“In hindsight if I would have know about all the problems with this building and the $2.4 million deficit the hospital was in, I would not have taken this job and the hospital would have closed,” McGill said.

But those days of the hospital with low morale and no doctors are long gone thanks to McGill. He said that since he has been the administrator they have hired five new doctors who are all on the payroll as well as opened a $75,000 clinic, which acts as a feeder for the hospital.

“The clinic has been a wonderful success. We just got though adding another 2,500 square feet of space there,” McGill said.

He said that the hospital is now totally out of debt and actually making money. He also said that the main objective of the hospital is to offer good doctors and a nice overall environment for the patients.

“The attempt at creating an overall nice environment is the ongoing problem we are currently facing,” McGill said.

He said the current hospital was built in 1963 and still looks the same as it did back then. He also said that there has been very little done to improve the building over its 41 years of service.

Some of the problems that McGill listed included a flat roof that leaks and is like a swimming pool when it does rain, old walls that can’t be painted over and much more.

McGill said that they originally planned to build a new hospital because they were told they could do it for under $5 million, but that $5 million turned into $10 million and it was time to turn to plan B. He said that plan B was to refinance the bond from 1997 and get a better interest rate.

“When we looked at this option we saw that it would free up about $1.7 million,” McGill said.

He said they plan to use that freed up $1.7 million to build a brand new wing on the hospital, which would house 39 new beds as well as giving the front of the building a facelift. He also said that the old rooms would be converted into office space.

“The time line for this project is about 120 days, so we figure to be in there around Sept.,” McGill said.