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Growing an Elite Network of Care

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A commitment to bringing a full breadth of high-quality health care services to the communities it serves has driven growth across AdventHealth hospitals and clinics in Northwest Georgia over the past year. “The growth that we’ve experienced has allowed our communities to have access to outstanding providers and a team of people who are very passionate about providing great care and serving our community,” said Debbie Smith, director of strategic development for the AdventHealth Georgia Market.

Throughout 2023, AdventHealth Redmond in Rome, AdventHealth Murray in Chatsworth and AdventHealth Gordon in Calhoun expanded existing services and brought new offerings in cardiology, neurosurgery, endocrinology, family medicine, wound care, home care, bariatric surgery, ophthalmology, emergency services, women’s health care and more. “The investments we’re making at Murray, Gordon and Redmond show these communities that AdventHealth is committed to Georgia and the communities we live in and are part of,” said Chris Self, president and CEO of AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Murray. “We’re doubling down in our commitment to being here and growing here.”

Responsive Growth to Communities in Need

Northwest Georgia’s aging population, an influx of new residents, tourists and businesses and location between Atlanta and Chattanooga have contributed to the need for new and expanded health care services, organization leaders said. At AdventHealth Murray, the past year’s uptick in emergency room visits and hospital admissions is expected to continue, said Donny Abraham, the hospital’s administrator. “We just hired a new general surgeon to start in January so patients can stay here in the community for their surgical needs,” he said. “We’re planning on adding some more service lines, as well.” An ophthalmologist now performs cataract surgeries at AdventHealth Murray a few times a month, he said. Endocrinology, wound care and home health care services also became available in Murray County over the summer.

Bringing services like these close to home for residents who would otherwise have to travel out of county to receive them means patients are more likely to receive treatment and follow-up care, said Scott Hill, vice president of physician enterprise for the AdventHealth Georgia Market. “We have an opportunity to address a variety of issues much sooner than we did before, and the earlier we can get connected to patients to put them on a journey of improvement to their health, the more we can prevent bad outcomes and further complications down the line,” he said. For home-bound patients, the need is even more paramount, prompting AdventHealth Home Care Gordon to bring its seven-days-a-week, 24-hour in-home services to qualified residents of Murray County.

“Home care is extremely special because we serve a group of patients who would go without service otherwise,” said Krystin Littleton, regional director of home care for AdventHealth’s Georgia and North Carolina Markets. Brandi Dutton, the group’s manager, said the team offers skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and other in-home services with a physician’s referral. “We partner with their provider so we can be the eyes and ears and hopefully intervene before that next step into the hospital is warranted,” she said. Lisa Green, BSN, RN, CWOCN, CWCA, clinical nurse manager for wound care and hyperbaric medicine at AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Murray, said the wound care team, which now sees patients at AdventHealth Murray one day a week, creates individualized wound healing treatment plans to help patients feel better sooner and learn how they can reduce the risk of recurrence. “For a lot of people, when they can’t afford to travel or have the inability to travel, their wound is not treated or it’s not treated properly,” she said. “That can lead to loss of limb and even loss of life eventually.”

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Widening the Neighborhood and the Network

AdventHealth has broadened its service network across Northwest Georgia, extending Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to Eton in Murray County and opening two AdventHealth Medical Group primary care clinics in Trion and Cedartown. “Including primary care in those areas is just something that made a lot of sense for us and access to great primary care, was something that was much needed in those communities,” Smith said of Rome neighbors, Trion and Cedartown. AdventHealth also broadened its physician network to include familiar faces with the addition of fellowship-trained and board-certified cardiology and neurosurgery practitioners who are trusted leaders in their specialties. “The community knows them, respects them and seeks them out when care is needed,” Hill said. “We are so proud to have them be part of AdventHealth and to be partnering with them to continue the care they’ve been providing the community for years.”

AdventHealth Medical Group Cardiology opened clinics in Rome and Calhoun with nine experienced cardiologists, while Rome’s only cardiac electrophysiologist began practicing at AdventHealth Medical Group Cardiac Electrophysiology at Rome. Two nurse practitioners, two certified physician assistants and a certified acute care nurse practitioner also joined the cardiology team. “Our commitment is to continue to be ‘the heart hospital in Northwest Georgia’ and that includes cardiac services and open-heart procedures and everything we do in between,” said Isaac Sendros, president and CEO of AdventHealth Redmond. Similarly, AdventHealth Medical Group Neurosurgery at Rome opened in September 2023 with three highly skilled neurosurgeons to care for patients facing chronic problems involving the brain, nervous system and spine. Four physician assistants and two nurse practitioners also joined the neurosurgery team. “This outstanding practice will be a foundation for growth for neurosurgery and additional services that may follow,” Smith said.

In July 2023, AdventHealth Gordon became the first hospital in Northwest Georgia to offer women experiencing a health emergency during pregnancy round-the-clock access to onsite board-certified OB Hospitalists at an Obstetrics Emergency Department. AdventHealth Gordon’s state-of-the-art birthing center, The Baby Place, also augmented its labor and delivery team this summer to allow for expedited Cesarean-section deliveries in the birthing center, said Reatha Clary, RN, director of The Baby Place. Since being introduced in April 2023, AdventHealth Redmond’s new Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program has launched a patient intake platform, raised its community visibility and enriched patient support programming and education to promote the health benefits gained by life-changing weight-loss surgery.

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Choosing the AdventHealth Difference

The health of the community improves with access to a multispecialty physician network that seamlessly works together to ensure patients receive comprehensive and compassionate care to make them feel whole, AdventHealth’s leaders said. “Our ability to continue to grow and invest in our communities with resources to properly care for them with a multispecialty group provides the opportunity for patients to go to one trusted place for care and get solutions,” Hill said. “All of that allows our patients to have a broader array of expertise to address whatever need they may have.” Self said the past year’s growth has also been fueled by the community’s desire to stay in AdventHealth’s network.

“The experience patients have with AdventHealth is different from when they go to other health care options, and there’s a growing desire to have all of the services they can, closer to home and with the teams that they have grown accustomed to who help them feel whole,” he said. Hospital leaders also recognize patients have choices when it comes to where they seek care. “It’s important to be able to provide options for patients,” Sendros said. “We believe that by introducing primary care through the lens of AdventHealth, and cardiology and neurology and bariatrics and wound care and all the different offerings we’re bringing to the market, patients appreciate having quality choices and that will be the differentiator.”

AdventHealth’s continued investment in growing a multidisciplinary health care team, hospital leaders said, also helps the organization attract and retain top talent to continue to meet the growing needs of Northwest Georgia. “We’re committed to having the right technologies in the right venues so our providers have access to the best technological solutions to provide the highest level of care,” Hill said. “The ability for physicians to continue to learn and grow with a supportive network of peer providers makes us attractive as well.”

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New Foundations for Bright Days Ahead

To support its efforts to invest in patient health, team health and community health, the organization created the AdventHealth Murray Foundation and AdventHealth Redmond Foundation in 2023 and reorganized the wellestablished AdventHealth Gordon Foundation, said Jake Hager, foundation director for the AdventHealth Georgia Market. “Foundations can provide that additional lift that really brings our institute to the table where, otherwise, they might not be able to,” he said. Each foundation, he said, will operate independently at the local level to support initiatives unique to each community’s needs.

“They know every dollar raised in Murray, stays in Murray; every dollar raised in Rome, stays in Rome; and every dollar raised in Gordon, stays in Gordon,” he said. Abraham said community investment goes hand-in-hand with community support. “The community supports this hospital and we want to get them involved in the success and growth of the organization because it’s their hospital as much as ours,” he said of Murray. The past year’s growth, he and other hospital leaders said, is a testament to that support. “Our mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ calls us to a higher standard of care and challenges us to show up in our communities and be an integral part of the communities we serve,” Sendros said. “The investments AdventHealth has made in Northwest Georgia over the last few years, and the continued investments we will continue to make in the years to come, are signaling a new day in this community where the top-level physicians and patient care will be.”

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