Slaving over a grill outside Troy Regional Medical Center Dr. Mark Griffin may not be cooking the healthiest of meals.
"No comment on that right now," Griffin said with a laugh.
But Griffin and the entire hospital staff are feeling mighty good after Griffin spearheaded a deal along with 11 other doctors to buy Troy Regional Medical Center. Today, we found Griffin cooking hamburgers for the staff, a sure-fire way of showing that life indeed has changed at Troy Regional.
"There's a buoyancy in their step among the staff," Griffin said.
Dr. Griffin says they bought the hospital because they quite frankly believe they can do a better job. Veteran nurse Susan Winland agrees and feels better about the medical center's future than anytime in her 26-year career.
"I sure hope so. I've seen a lot of people come and go over the years. We won't get into heart surgery but we'll do what we do best. That is great patient care and quality service," Winland said.
In all 12 doctors pooled their money and borrowed some to buy Troy Regional for $9 million from Attentus Health Care, an out-of-state group of investors. And that's not all. The doctors put up more cash for operating capital.
Reporter: "How much are we talkng about?"
Griffin: "$1.5 million."
Griffin says changes are in the works such as a face-lift. Around town at least one lady gives the transaction a 'thumbs up."
"I definitely believe the service will be a lot better," said Janice Siler.
However, the largest stockholder in the new deal concedes there may be a few who believe this is a conflict of interest, doctors shouldn't own a medical center. Gil McKenzie's company will also manage the hospital for the doctors so they can concentrate on patient care.
"This is no different than a doctor owning his office building," McKenzie said.
In a month or so you won't see the Troy Regional Medical Center posted out front. That's because the doctors plan to rename it, a symbolic move to break away from the past.
No would publicly talk about what the new name might be. In the meantime, the work of starting over is just beginning and it could be painful, the job of overcoming a past that hasn't been kind.
"I've had people tell me they'd rather die en route than come here," said Winland.
"No one wants to be in the hospital but if you have to be here we want to make it enjoyable," said Dr. Griffin.
The new owners believe they got a good deal at $9 million because the entire property, they say, is worth around $18 million.
New owners, new attitude, a new day.. just may be what the doctors ordered for a new beginning.