The name is now officially FLOYD Cherokee Medical Center, and on Wednesday WEIS Radio Morning Show Host Jerry Baker welcomed to the studio Eric Ellis Chairman of the Cherokee County Healthcare Authority and from Floyd County, David Early, Vice President of Support Services & Operations at Floyd Medical Center along with a man who played a major role in the recent changeover of Cherokee Medical to FLOYD Cherokee Medical, Barry Cochran.
David Early shared with WEIS Radio listeners what county residents can expect concerning Floyd’s constant drive to provide the absolute best quality of care available and what approach Floyd will take locally to build the confidence of those coming to Floyd Cherokee Medical Center:
Discussion was also given to the financial stability brought about through a deal which will provide the county a quality medical center on a long-term basis.
By the same token, that stability will also perhaps help to provide good jobs and services all citizens of the area will certainly be happy to have close to home that they are confident are second to none.
Everyone in the community is invited to stop by FLOYD Cherokee Medical Center, Thursday (June 7th) starting at 11:00am to take part in the “Celebrating a New Beginning” Ceremony which includes a short program followed by FREE refreshments, music and more. That’s at 400 Northwood Drive in Centre – join the WEIS Radio Road Crew live during that event.
To hear Wednesday’s interview in its entirety, simply click the link below
Floyd Healthcare’s green banner marks the entrance to Floyd Cherokee Medical Center, where a community-wide celebration will be held Thursday morning at 11:00 to mark a Floyd subsidiary taking over daily operations of the hospital.
Changes at the hospital started May 31, shortly after the Cherokee County Health Care Authority bought Cherokee Medical Center from NNZ Holdings LLC and leased the facility to Floyd.
“It’s a relief,” Health Care Authority Chairman Eric Ellis said after a small army of lawyers and executives from Iowa, Florida and Georgia met in Centre last week to seal the three-way deal. “It’s been a long roller-coaster ride, but it’s very satisfying to achieve this. The hospital stays as an ongoing health-care provider for the residents of our county.”
The Authority started negotiating the hospital purchase in early 2017 but was unable to reach an agreement with then-seller Quorum Health Corp. of Brentwood, Tenn. In October, a representative of NNZ, the Florida company that bought CMC in April 2017, contacted Ellis and said the medical center was once again for sale.
“The implication was that if the hospital didn’t sell, it would be closed. Our board stepped up. This isn’t just me. We have been united from the start, and we are fulfilling our mission to make health care available in the county,” said Ellis, who has been a member of the nine-member board for 21 years.
But the Authority realized early on that it would need a partner to save Cherokee Medical Center. Rural hospitals operate in a tough financial climate. A dozen Alabama hospitals have closed in the past seven years.
“We’ve known for years that the best partner we could have for our health care needs would be Floyd,” said Barry Cochran, a hospital administrator for more than 30 years who helped broker the deal. “With Floyd Medical Center, we knew their commitment to their communities. Their mission aligns with our mission. They used to be our neighbors, now they’re family.”
The push to buy CMC and ensure its future has long been personal for Ellis, Cochran, a onetime administrator for CMC, and Dean Buttram Jr., the Authority’s lawyer who also negotiated the agreement. They grew up together and Ellis’s dad, John Ellis, and Dean’s dad, Dean Buttram Sr., were on the Authority Board in the 1980s, when it was sold to Baptist Health System, a decision that was controversial at the time. Baptist later sold it to Community Health Systems in 2006.
“I’d like to think John Ellis and Dean Buttram Sr. would be proud. If they had not been forward-thinking along with the other members of the Health Care Authority at that time, we would not have a hospital today,” Ellis said. “And our county leaders who designated part of our property taxes for health care in our county in the 1950s were true visionaries. We did not borrow money to buy the hospital, and we’re financially secure.”
Buttram said he is excited about what Floyd Cherokee Medical Center means for the county and business community.
“Our health care will be second to none, but it’s up to us to support it,” he said. “It’s like Benjamin Franklin said after the Constitutional Convention. Someone asked, ‘What have we got, a monarchy or a republic?’ and Franklin said, ‘A republic – if you can keep it.’ We’ve got a first-rate hospital, and it’s up to us to keep it.”