The Fulton County Quorum Court voted 9-0 Sept. 11 to OK the processing of a $3.4 million government loan to expand the Fulton County Hospital.
According to Fulton County Judge Charles Willett, this loan originated during a Sept. 7 meeting in which he and hospital administrator Frank Wise met with federal officials to cover details regarding the possibility of a USDA loan. With the quorum court's approval, the loan application for $3.4 million was signed by Willett and can now be sent to Washington and processed for final approval.
In April 2004 the hospital was faced with the threat of having to permanently close its doors. However, that year, in an April 13 special election, voters passed a half-cent sales tax to keep the hospital doors open. And today it is this same tax that enables the Fulton County Hospital to receive the loan.
Now financially sound, the hospital intends to focus on the improvements that need to be made to the facility. If this money comes through, it will do just that.
"This loan is primarily for hospital expansion and renovation," Wise said.
Wise explained that these changes would be focused on improving accessibility and new outpatient services. Specifically, the new hospital plan will allow the lab to be moved closer to the ER, a new surgery unit to be built and the admission office to be made more accessible to incoming patients.
"We will build into the parking lot area, so that will be expanded too," Wise also commented.
According to Wise, the hospital should know within 6-10 weeks whether or not the loan has been approved. If approved, plans are ready, and work could potentially begin as soon as late December. The process is expected to last about 14 months.