Effingham Hospital Expands building lease for doctor


The Effingham Hospital Board states sufferers do not need to be concerned about losing their doctor.  

Effingham inhabitants were worried about the lease on Dr. Joseph Ratchford’s building finish after nearly 30 years.  

The Effingham Hospital Board voted unanimously to give Dr. Joseph Ratchford a yearlong lease expansion on his building in a new  public meeting. One week later, WTOC  sat to talk more about what is next and exactly what happened.

“It’s a business decision. It Is a lease. It’s a business decision,” said Ann Yarbrough, Chairwoman of the Effingham Hospital Board.

On the other hand, the hospital knew the number of patients relied upon Dr. Ratchford, and allowed a lease expansion. The lease term was then allowed an additional six months into by the board, when patients attended a public assembly worried over time restrictions.

“We actually extended it. They asked for 18, so we moved forward and extended into 24,” Yarbrough said.

Patients expressed in the meeting they don’t care where his office is located. They say they simply take care of Dr. Ratchford – their lifelong doctor.

“The continuity of attention is all that personal care. That long term family physician. That’s Dr. Ratchford,” one patient said.  

Dr. Ratchford’s attorney declined comment. Dr. Ratchford also dropped a meeting until he receives the new lease arrangement, but he’d give us this announcement.

“We are optimistic that we will have the ability to work out the particulars and get a lease in writing that reflects last week’s vote to expand our lease for another 24 months.   We’d like to convey our appreciation for board members and the citizens that supported our efforts”

The committee claims they obtained a draft of the lease on Wednesday and they expect  to hand Dr. Ratchford a hard copy shortly.

“They are what is important for us. It’s all about our community. It’s about providing health care, excellent health care to our citizens in the county,” Yarbrough said.   “We are very happy that we could come into an arrangement with Dr. Ratchford.”