The Cherokee County Health Care Authority hopes to wrap up the purchase of Cherokee Medical Center this week, which will clear the way for Floyd Healthcare of Rome, Ga., to manage and operate the hospital under an agreement with the CCHCA.
“Although the purchase of the hospital has not been finalized, we are hopeful we will soon be able to cross the finish line with this,” Eric Ellis, chairman of the Health Care Authority, said. “We understand there’s a lot of interest and excitement about the future of Cherokee Medical Center, but at this point it would be inaccurate to assume this complicated process has been completed.”
In April, the board of Floyd Healthcare Management Inc. said it had “voted to accept the invitation of the Health Care Authority for a Floyd subsidiary to lease and operate Cherokee Medical Center in the event CCHCA purchases the hospital.”
“It’s vital to our county to keep our hospital open,” Ellis said. “Not only does it provide much-needed health care to our residents, the hospital is also one of our area’s largest employers.”
The Cherokee Health Care Authority, which owns Cherokee County Health & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home and rehab facility, has negotiated for several months to purchase Cherokee Medical Center and partner with Floyd to lease and operate it.
“This has been a 24/7 work-in-progress for three months,” said Dean Buttram Jr., lawyer for the Health Care Authority. “Right now it’s still fluid and could change. But we’re working for the people of Cherokee County to make this happen.”
Barry Cochran, a rural hospital administrator for 30 years and a consultant for the Health Care Authority, said the hospital is at the heart of Cherokee County’s thriving medical community. “We have a strong medical group here, but without a hospital, it would be difficult to maintain that and bring new physicians into the community,” he said. Cochran, a former administrator at CMC, said the effort to buy CMC “has involved a lot of moving parts in the process, and some of them are still moving.”
Cherokee Medical Center, which employs more than 100 people, is a 60-bed hospital that is also a Level 4 trauma hospital.