By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Morgan Memorial Hospital Authority (MMHA) voted unanimously Tuesday evening to accept the loan approval from the USDA in the amount of $35 million at fixed interest rate of 2.375 percent. Hospital leaders expect to begin construction on the new hospital facility, which will be located on Lions Club Road in Madison, sometime next year, in 2017.
“This is a great thing for the community,” said Ralph Castillo at CEO MMH. “This modernizes our ability to deliver hospital care in Morgan County and try to bring more services locally. It’s just a great gift for the community.”
Alan Richman, a financial adviser to MMH from Innovative Capital, was thrilled to secure the USDA loan, noting the loan has the lowest interest rate of any deal he has ever achieved.
“We are assured at this point in time that the federal government will make a long-term loan and the federal government supports this project and endorses the project,” said Richman. “Having done this all over the United Stated, this is the lowest interest rate any of my clients have ever achieved. I feel confident in saying there is probably not a hospital in the State of Georgia with a long-term loan on their books with a lower interest rate than what Morgan Memorial Hospital has been able to receive…This low interest rate is another one of the driving forces that is going to help the hospital prosper going into the future. There shouldn’t be one person in the county, irrespective of what has been said in the past, who should not be standing up right now and cheering. This will allow the hospital to build a state-of-the-art, cost-effective and financially viable hospital for the residents of Morgan County and the surrounding communities. By any definition, this is fantastic.”
The official approval from the USDA was a personal point of pride for outgoing county commissioner, Ellen Warren, who has been the MMH liaison for the last 12 years. The MMHA honored Warren for all her unwavering support at the meeting before accepting the terms of the loan.
“We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for this hospital,” said Terry Evans, chairman of the MMHA. “I am here to publicly thank this lady because she kept me in the game…She would tell me ‘you gotta hang in there, you have to have patience and it’s going to get better.’ We went through so much together. We went through so many trials and tribulations and she was right…It got better. She has taken it on the chin for this hospital. She has stood up for this hospital and I think it is time we stand up and recognize her,” said Evans as he led a the MMHA in a standing ovations for Warren.