Oconee Medical Center posted a negative bottom line in January for $22,771–traced to lower-than-expected patient numbers spending nights in the hospital. The board of directors heard a report that, for the year to date, OMC counts a negative bottom line of $452,302. The hospital had about 63 patients in the hospital per day in January, nearly 13% below budget. “Clearly, healthcare reform is having an impact in Oconee County, just as it is across the nation,” said Hunter Kome, chief operating officer. “The healthcare press is full of articles about the decline in hospital utilization and the impact it is having on hospital finances.” Community hospitals are struggling. One in Wheeler County, Georgia announced this month it is closing, to become the fourth Georgia community hospital to close in the past two years. Over the last five years, OMC has cut more than 250 jobs as patient volumes have dropped. In January, the OMC board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Greenville Health System to explore a formal affiliation. That process is underway.