Like many organizations in South Atlanta, if we look at the accomplishments of the past history of Southern Regional Medical Center (SRMC), we have much to be grateful for and much to look forward to for our community hospital.
Now a part of the Prime Healthcare System, SRMC is more committed to always providing exceptional care and performance. Comparing the hospital’s life to that of a human, you would see how magnificent the living legend is:
• Southern Regional Medical Center first opened its doors to patients April 19, 1971 as a small, community hospital in Riverdale.
• In 1987, the hospital underwent a major expansion to meet the growing healthcare demands of the community.
• In 1991, The Women’s Center was opened with a focus on providing the highest quality of care for women’s health. The Center deliveries approximately 2,500 babies a year and is complete with 14 private birthing rooms; 40 private mother/baby suites; and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that can support up to 30 newborns with special healthcare needs
• In 2007, the hospital built and opened the Spivey Station Imaging Center and Medical Office Buildings at 7823 Spivey Station Blvd., in Jonesboro near Stockbridge to provide high-quality imaging services to those communities.
• In February 2016, the hospital became part of Prime Healthcare, an award-winning health system that owns and operates 46 hospitals in 14 states. Southern Regional is one of 15 not-for-profit members of the Prime Healthcare Foundation.
Past Leadership Perspective
Dr. Royster, past Chief of Staff at Southern Regional Medical Center, and OB/Gyn at My OB/Gyn, has served patients at the hospital, her entire 24 year career. “I’ve stayed so long because of the support from staff that I have received. When I say staff, I don’t mean the medical staff only, I am talking about the security team, our nutrition team, and all those people who have kept me focused and who have nurtured me.” She acknowledges, “This is the kind of support that you can’t find in larger medical networks.”
While Southern Regional Medical Center is considered a small facility it’s impact on community is huge. In 2020, the hospital has delivered $87.5 million in charity and uncompensated care. It’s physician led approach allows doctors and clinicians to direct healthcare at every level.
A Current Perspective
Dr. Richard Wright, an internal medicine physician, is the current Chief of Staff at Southern Regional Medical Center. “I am excited about the hospital’s future. Especially now that we’ve shared growth opportunities and our aspirations of becoming a level 3 trauma center with Senator Raphael Warnock during his visit to the hospital.” The hospital is also in contact with Senator Jon Ossoff’s team and local state representatives for support of numerous hospital initiatives.
There are countless trauma cases in the southern crescent area every week that would be able to receive more immediate care if Southern Regional was a designated trauma center. The hospital is currently in the process of collecting data in the hopes of becoming a Level 3 Trauma Center.
Similar to most medical practices, the COVID-19 pandemic made way for creating new ways to serve his internal medicine patients in his private practice, Med-South Associates, PC. “Our greatest hurdle was helping our technologically challenged patients to embrace technology. Once we got past that problem, I’d have to say we adjusted quickly with providing safe and practical Telecare Health visits for every patient who needed care.”
The future of Southern Regional is promising, if Dr. Wright has it his way, the center would become a teaching hospital. “Beginning a medical career at a level 3 trauma center makes for a great start. I believe the hospital could provide unique learning experiences for residents [medical students].”
Looking to the Future
Dr. David Penn is Vice-Chief of Staff at Southern Regional Medical Center (to be Chief of Staff to begin in 2022) and Vascular Interventionist Radiologist at South Atlanta Vascular Institute.
A Vascular interventional radiologist is a medical doctor who treats a variety of disease processes with minimally invasive image guided methods typically through small puncture sites in the neck, wrist, arm, groin or leg.
“Because Southern Regional Medical Center is committed to providing excellent cardiovascular care, the community has access to the highest level of minimally invasive care for life and limb threatening issues. Typically, what is offered at our hospital is only offered at referral center hospitals.”
“In the last year, we have updated our vascular and cardiac catheterization suite where vascular and cardiac procedures are performed. These new State-of-the-art facilities allow us to perform procedures with minimal radiation exposure to patients and providers, and provide the most accurate imaging available to assist with perform our procedures. This investment allows the vascular providers at Southern Regional to give our community the best chance for an excellent outcome.
One of his fondest memories is when he had to stop postpartum bleeding in a young woman soon after I came on staff. She had just delivered her child and was rapidly bleeding. “We were able to avoid her having to go to the operating room and avoid an emergent hysterectomy which has a risk of death. Not only was she able to avoid this, but she was able to quickly recover and spend time with her newborn. The appreciation from both the patient and the obstetrician provided me a lot of satisfaction.”
Maintaining Excellence During A Pandemic
While 2020 was challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic for every hospital in the nation, SRMC still maintained its level of excellence and service in patient healthcare. In addition to updating the emergency room in November 2020, the hospital earned Quality Awards from the American Heart Association, HealthGrades 5-Star Awards, American College of Cardiology NCDR ACTION Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award, and Recognized Member of NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders) Program.