AdventHealth’s leaders may not be able to predict all the ways the delivery of health care will change in the future, but they’re committed to bringing the future of health care to the residents of Murray County.
The health system, which assumed the operations of Murray Medical Center from the Murray County Hospital Authority Board in 2015, officially purchased the hospital, now known as AdventHealth Murray, on December 15, 2020.
“AdventHealth Murray is a key part of the foundation of Murray County, and ensuring our future is strong and solid is in the best interest of the community,” said Mike Murrill, president and CEO of AdventHealth Murray and AdventHealth Gordon. “Since 2015, we’ve enhanced the physical plant, and we’ve added Primary Care, OB/GYN, general surgery, urology and more. Our goal is to continue to grow additional services as the need becomes clear.”
Dr. Todd Keener, a Chatsworth veterinarian, said the purchase of the 42-bed facility shows AdventHealth’s commitment to improving health care for the residents of the community.
“It says everything,” said Keener, who credits the hospital’s presence in Chatsworth with being the difference between life and death for those who live in the rural area. “Financially, I know it’s a big commitment to AdventHealth, but, obviously, they think it’s worth that commitment…They’re in it for the long-term.”
Murrill said acute care facilities are critical in rural communities, especially for residents who don’t have access to reliable transportation or the ability to travel far distances to seek health care.
“Chances are, they will make a decision that’s detrimental to their health because they don’t have a choice,” he said. “To me, it is exactly in line with our mission. If we’re going to say we’re Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ, we better be thinking about people in all parts of our communities. And if that means giving access close to their homes and…getting them the care they need, to me, that’s the calling we have.”
AdventHealth Murray has changed in more ways than one since AdventHealth assumed operations of the medical center six years ago.
“We invested in the physical plant of the building, renovating the emergency department, imaging and surgery,” Murrill said. “Our goal is to continue to provide additional services to the Murray County community as demand increases.”
He said the hospital’s commitment to helping the community feel whole goes beyond providing access to an excellent facility and medical
“We are committed to providing education, partnering with local agencies, industries, etc. and improving the overall health of the community,” he said. “Our goals of caring for the whole person – physical, mental and emotional – are aspirational. It is paramount that we are intentional about creating a foundation for whole-person care. It is a work in progress, and quite frankly, will never be done, but it’s a north star that drives everything we do.”
He said the goal moving forward is to develop a strong network of care so that community members will come to know AdventHealth Murray as their health partner.
“At AdventHealth, it’s not just about providing care for patients when they are sick, but it’s about developing a relationship and a partnership with community members when they are healthy,” he said. “And if there’s anything we can do along the way, we’re here.”
AdventHealth Murray employs close to 200 health care professionals and support staff, and it has consistently earned top patient experience scores among the AdventHealth network.
It also shares partnerships with other medical centers in the region, including Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and AdventHealth Gordon in Calhoun.
“When it comes to health care, being the biggest in size doesn’t always mean you’ll provide the best care,” Murrill said. “But there is strength in numbers. The close proximity between AdventHealth Murray and AdventHealth Gordon offers some clear advantages. Additionally, we’ve been able to tap into many of AdventHealth Gordon’s resources without having to financially impact AdventHealth Murray, which is something that most rural hospitals typically aren’t able to do. Also, during this past year, as we’ve dealt with the pandemic, we’ve been able to work together to solve challenges, which has benefitted the larger community as a whole.”
Keener praised the hospital’s team members for offering quality, compassionate care when he brought his father to its Emergency Department for a heart attack over Labor Day weekend in 2020.
“I couldn’t ask for any better treatment,” he said. “When you talk to people in the community, and their loved ones are having to go to the hospital, you don’t really ever hear anything bad about AdventHealth. It’s always good.”
Murrill said Keener’s experience is representative of the stories he’s heard across the county.
“The community of Chatsworth and Murray County love the hospital, and it is truly part of the fabric of this community,” he said. “When we were at the state attorney general hearing to purchase the hospital, it was humbling to hear the stories shared by several community members regarding their fond memories of the hospital and what it has meant to the community over the past 70 years. Our intention is to continue to improve the health care services in Murray County and across Northwest Georgia for the next 70 years.”