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Cook County, GA Economic Development Commission



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City Council increases commitment for new hospital up to $4 million

The Adel City Council voted Monday, April 10, to commit up to $4 million over 30 years for the new hospital project.


The action will involve a Memorandum of Understanding (a contract) with the Hospital Authority of Tift County.


City Manager John Flythe said the agreement resulted after much discussion among city, county, and Adel Industrial Development Authority officials and Tift hospital representatives. Cook Medical Center CEO Michael Purvis serves on the Adel City Council, but he recused himself from the discussions and Monday night’s vote on the City funding. AIDA Chairman Brent Dixon and Vice Chairman Howard McClain, Cook County Economic Development Director Lisa Collins, and Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Connell were present for Monday’s historic meeting of the Adel City Council.


In 2015, the Adel City Council and Cook County Commission voted unanimously to help support the project financially by pledging funds for indigent care. The County Commission unanimously passed a resolution to allocate an annual amount of $250,000 of the county government’s general fund budget to Cook Medical Center for 20 years, beginning October 1, 2015. The Adel City Council also voted unanimously to provide funding to Cook Medical Center not to exceed $2 million to use for improvements in the hospital’s medical facilities. Those funds were initially to be paid over a 20-year period. (No funds have been paid out yet by the City and County.) Under the agreement voted on Monday night, the City will commit up to $2 million more and extend the term to 30 years.


With an overflow crowd of concerned citizens present, the County Commission voted unanimously March 6 to have County Attorney Daniel Connell move forward with drafting a Memorandum of Understanding and Intergovernmental Agreement with the Tift County Hospital Authority for the building/funding of a new hospital facility. The County will commit up to $5 million as originally planned, along with a 30-year term.


The County Commissioners have agreed to the commitment of up to $5 million over 30 years, County Administrator Faye Hughes said. “They will take a formal vote once the agreements are completed and they are ready to sign them.” Mrs. Hughes has prepared a letter stating that commitment and sent it to County Attorney Connell for his review, prior to her sending the letter to the Tift Hospital Authority.


Tift Regional Medical Center is pursuing USDA financing of "a total replacement facility" for Cook Medical Center, Cook Senior Living Center, and the Sylvia Barr Center. The new hospital will cost more than $35 million. Tift Regional is seeking USDA financing to include the construction of the Cook Medical Center replacement facility in Adel, a Musculoskeletal Center in Tifton, and a new Emergency Center and Patient Tower on the existing campus of Tift Regional Medical Center. Projects funds will also be utilized to expand physician practices in Tift's service area.


The Hospital Authority of Tift County is applying for project financing through the USDA Community Facilities Program. The total amount involved would be approximately $200 million. Tift Regional plans to in turn loan up to $4 million to the City and $5 million to the County to fulfill their funding obligations, at an interest rate to be determined (projected at about 3.75 percent) over the 30-year time frame.


The City’s agreement to fund up to $4 million was done to fill “a funding gap” of $2 million needed for the local government contribution to the project, City Manager Flythe said. The total local government contribution sought by Tift Regional was $10 million.


The Adel Industrial Development Authority will contribute to the local commitment by purchasing property to be used for the new hospital site, currently owned by the State of Georgia, and possibly another piece of property for a land swap. That cost could be more than $800,000.


Local officials are in discussions with the State Properties Commission about acquiring the Georgia Forestry Commission property on M.J. Taylor Road (near I-75 Exit 37).


John Flythe said the City’s contribution does not include the cost of building utility infrastructure (electricity, water and sewer, and natural gas) to be extended to the new hospital site. The Council’s action Monday night authorized Mayor Buddy Duke to sign the contract as soon as it is completed.


All three local entities, the City of Adel, County Commission, and Adel Industrial Development Authority, were scheduled to send letters of commitment to the Hospital Authority in time for the Authority’s meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Tifton.


The local governments will seek grants from federal and state agencies and organizing a capital fundraiser campaign in which donors would contribute to the funding and reduce local tax money needed for the project, Flythe said.


Adel City Council Member Jody Greene made a motion, seconded by Council Member Butch Fausett, to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding and Intergovernmental Agreement with the Hospital Authority of Tift County for the provision of indigent care and medical facilities for the citizens of Cook County. The contract will commit commit up to $4 million, with the interest rate to be set, over 30 years. All voted in favor except for Council Member Purvis, who had recused himself.


The model for the modern new hospital facility with modern technology includes:

Urgent care center, surgical center, inpatient facilities, nursing home, geriatric psychiatric center and related medical facilities. In absence of an Emergency Room, there will be an urgent care center operating from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All active medical staff in the community will have privileges to make rounds in the new hospital.


Every 90 days, Tift Regional Health Services will reevaluate the need to adjust hours of operation to accommodate more patients. Meaning if they see a need to expand hours, they will.


In addition, a 24-hour nurse line will be available for medical guidance, as it is now at the current urgent care facility. The new Cook Medical Center would be a destination facility for specialty surgery services.


The local hospital, formerly Memorial Hospital of Adel, has been part of the community since 1950, after local leaders worked together to plan and build the project. Cook Medical Center is the second largest employer in Cook County next to the school system. The hospital employs approximately 200 people, and another 50 jobs will be needed for the new facility. 

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