A new oncology unit projected to be built at Liberty Regional Medical Center got a huge funding boost from a $100,000 donation from Ameris Bank. The staff at LRMC was presented with the check last Tuesday just before their hospital authority board meeting.
“Ameris’ donation demonstrates an amazing commitment to the community they serve and our local medical facility,” LRMC Director Mike Hester said. “We are so grateful and humbled by their donation.”
Hester said a donation of this magnitude, especially from a local business, demonstrates the need and desire to provide oncology services locally.
Ameris Bank Hinesville Branch President James Rogers said the donation was made in conjunction with the Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit program which was designed to provide much needed financial support to rural and critical access hospitals in Georgia.
Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 769, the rural hospital organization tax credit legislation on May 2.
The bill will impact Liberty Regional Medical Hospital in Hinesville, Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup and Effingham Hospital in Effingham County.
HB 769, which became effective July 1, will enhance the Georgia HEART RHO tax credit by increasing the tax credit percentage for contributions to RHOs from 90 percent to 100 percent by allowing owners of pass-through entities to qualify as eligible contributors, and by removing the maximum credit limits on non-corporate contributions to rural hospitals after June 30 of each year, through 2021.
The tax credit is designed to get more dollars to rural hospitals so they can pay off debt related to uncompensated care, improve their facilities and in many cases remain open.
“Ameris Bank is very proud to be able to contribute to Liberty Regional to help make the new Oncology Infusion Center a reality,” Rogers said. “As a Community Bank, Ameris is committed to the support of the communities we serve and call home. We are honored to be able to do so by helping to improve the healthcare programs available locally.”
Rogers added that gifts made through the Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit program will be possible again in 2019.
“And Ameris Bank invites our friends and neighbors to join us by helping to increase the services and programs offered by Liberty Regional Medical Center,” Rogers said.
Hester said the funds received by Ameris Bank will be added to their capital campaign drive.
“Ameris’ generous donation, the largest received, along with donations from LRMC employees, physicians and businesses both locally and statewide are all essential to making the oncology center a reality in the near future,” Hester said.
Hester said that Low Country Cancer Care has been partnering with the hospital for years. He said Dr. George Negrea has been coming to Hinesville to provide limited services, but families still have to travel out of town for chemotherapy and treatments.
The new oncology facility will have six treatment rooms for onsite chemotherapy infusion and support services. He added the oncology center will expand services to folks living in Liberty and Long counties and nearby communities who currently have to drive to Savannah or further for treatment.
“We thank all our donors for their contribution towards this project, as every dollar moves us closer to providing these services for our community,” Hester said. “Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Liberty County and Georgia, and can take a physical and emotional toll on patients and their families and friends. This oncology center will allow outpatient infusion treatments to be performed in Hinesville, which will eliminate the travel currently necessary to have these services performed. This will allow LRMC to expand on our mission of offering exceptional healthcare services to our community and Coastal Georgia.”