Hospital begins year two in Chilton County

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2017

St. Vincent’s Chilton celebrated its one year anniversary during an event on Oct. 5.

It is hard to believe that it has already been a year since St. Vincent’s officially opened its doors and filled the void of a hospital in Chilton County.

“It really has flown by,” Suzannah Campbell, administrator at St. Vincent’s Chilton. “It seems like there is still a lot to be done, but we have accomplished so much in the last year and have so much to be proud of.”

The anniversary celebration was held in the lobby of the hospital and included St. Vincent’s Chilton being awarded the Sister Mary Walter Boyle Excellence in Philanthropy Award for the hard work and dedication to make the hospital a reality in Chilton County.

A lot has been accomplished and many people have been the beneficiaries of the hospital over the past year.

Some of the numbers over the first year according to Campbell: an estimated 14,000 patients have been served in the emergency department, over 1,400 surgeries have been performed in endoscopy cases, performed thousands of ancillary and lab tests.

“Those things were not a possibility before,” Campbell said. “It’s just nice to be here for the community, and we’ve appreciated the support that they’ve provided to allow us to do that.”

The associate engagement and quality has been ranked among the top of Ascension Health, which is the hospital’s parent company.

“The thing that I am most proud of is the hard work that everybody has put in,” Campbell said. “I can remember the days of us sitting in this space [prior to opening], and our nursing staff and clinical techs putting together linen carts.”

Medical options was something that the people of Chilton County were lacking with the absence of a hospital in recent years, and St. Vincent’s Chilton has done a lot in year one to grow those options for people to choose from.

“I get letters from community members all the time that are just thankful that we’re here and about the positive experiences that they had,” Campbell said. “The difference about a community hospital versus a big urban hospital, is that the people who work here, also live and go to church here.”

An eye is always set on the future within the medical field and St. Vincent’s has many more plans of its own.

Specialties that have recently been implemented have been TeleStroke services in the emergency department that allows a neurologist off site to evaluate patients that are having an acute [sudden] stroke.

The hospital also received its certificate of need earlier in the year for swing bed services, which offers in-patient rehab after surgeries.

The swing bed initiative is in the final stage of the process and Campbell expects to go live with it later this year.

“My goal for this hospital has always been to have as many medical specialties as we possibly can, so that no patient has to leave the county for any service,” Campbell said.