Southern Regional Medical Center announced that it had filed an application with the Georgia Department of Community Health for state approval to provide open heart surgery services and called on residents of the Southern Crescent to support the request.
“In 2009, nearly 600 Southern Crescent residents had to undergo open heart surgery, and every single one of them had to leave the area to get that critical, life-saving procedure,” said Ron Dodson, chairman of the Southern Regional Board of Directors. “The region is home to 850,000 people, but not one open heart program. That’s a big problem, and it’s one Southern Regional is determined to correct.”
“We have a compelling case that a legitimate need for open heart surgery exists in our service area, and that Southern Regional is the right hospital to provide it,” said Dodson, who also represents part of Clayton County in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Clint Matthews, the hospital CEO, said Southern Regional was well prepared to establish and operate an open heart surgery program.
“Our cardiology program has been more than 30 years in the making,” he said. “We operate a fully accredited chest pain center, and our emergency department sees approximately 7,000 patients with cardiac conditions each year. We were one of a select number of hospitals chosen to participate in the Johns Hopkins Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team study, which began in 2006. Last year we were accredited to provide leading-edge echocardiographic services, which is a non-invasive approach to detecting and managing cardiac disease. We also made history last year by becoming the first hospital in Atlanta to implant a pacemaker equipped with wireless technology, which notifies physicians of changes in the condition of the patient or the device itself.”
Matthews added that because of continuing improvements to Southern Regional’s operating rooms and related medical technologies, the hospital could make the physical improvements necessary to perform open heart surgery in a relatively short period of time and for an investment of less than $3 million. “With timely state approval, we anticipate being able to begin offering open heart surgery services by January 1, 2012,” he said.