THOMSON — Members of University Health Care System and the Thomson community gathered Monday as the unveiling of a new sign signaled the transition of McDuffie Regional Medical Center to University.
“This is about a new beginning,” Jim Davis, University’s president and CEO, said at the event attended by about 100 people.
McDuffie Regional and University have been working on the transfer since mid-2010. It was finalized in May with a report from the Georgia attorney general verifying that the transaction would properly safeguard the hospital’s charitable assets.
Times have become increasingly hard for smaller, regional hospitals, Davis said, and this transfer allows the community to still receive quality care close to home while remaining financially viable.
“Health care has become a very complicated business,” Davis said. “The McDuffie Hospital Authority had the foresight to see that small hospitals would have a hard time.”
University plans to build a $25 million to $30 million hospital to replace the existing facility within two years.
The nonprofit hospital will be built from University funds. University Health Inc. voted in February to purchase property facing the Thomson Bypass and just north of Interstate 20.
Robin Dudley, a board member for the McDuffie Regional Medical Center, said University will bring a higher level of care to the Thomson community while maintaining the hometown warmth residents are accustomed to.
“Today we celebrate our rich past and our exciting future,” she said. “With University Hospital, McDuffie County’s tradition of lifesaving will continue and our goal of continued local health care is achieved.”