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August 26--  The local rumor mill has been churning out reports of layoffs at Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia.

To the contrary, Meadows CEO Alan Kent says they're hiring.

"That's an interesting rumor because the opposite is true," he says about the new medical center which opened six months ago.

"We're having near record utilization of the hospital right now and people who went other places are now using the hospital.  We actually have added new employees.  We hired 13 new employees in August after hiring 17 in July and we've got ten new people scheduled to come on in September," Kent says.

Contrary to many hospitals in the country and in Georgia, Kent reports Meadows closed out its fiscal year in the black.

"We closed our books last year with a profit.  It wasn't a great profit, but we were in the black and that continues our record of success here at the hospital.  Sixty percent of all hospitals in the state are in the red, so we're fortunate we're able to run this place with a profit and reinvest that money back in our community," he notes.

At the same time, Kent says the hospital continues to spend a great deal of money each year for indigent patient care.  "You know every year in this hospital, there are millions of dollars in charity care provided to the community and we're fortunate to be financially stable enough to continue to provide that care," Kent says.