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Lower Oconee hospital reopens | News

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Lower Oconee hospital reopens

Glenwood's Lower Oconee Community Hospital, which closed two weeks ago, has reopened under new management.

Norman King said his company, Charlton Healthcare Corp. bought the hospital in Wheeler County and reopened it last week.

He would not disclose the purchase price.

King said he expects to maintain current services at the 25-bed hospital but he expects to eventually reduce staff there, from 120 or so to 75 or 80. He said that will depend on the patient census.

But he said the public this week will see "business as usual."

King says he is a former associate administrator of the hospital in 1986, when it was Wheeler County Hospital. He said he is also a former owner and administrator of Three Rivers Hospital in McRae.

He has worked for the past 20 years as an administrator in correctional healthcare and diagnostic imaging.

King says he believes the hospital has a bright future.

"The community supports it 100 percent, and the surrounding communities support it 100 percent," he said. "If the hospital is properly managed and maintained, there's no reason that it can't be profitable."

Lower Oconee is the first property owned by his new company, but King says he will consider purchasing other small area hospitals.

Last month, CEO Karen O'Neal, said Lower Oconee had been having financial troubles for years and the owners hoped to bring an urgent-care center to the site.


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