Dr. Binkerd named chief of surgery at St. Vincent’s Chilton

There is a new chief of surgery at St. Vincent’s Chilton, and it is a familiar name to many in Chilton County.

Dr. Jon Binkerd was named chief of surgery in December, a position he also held at the previous hospital located in Chilton County.

The chief of surgery position became available after the former chief of surgery reduced his privileges to courtesy privileges.

According to Binkerd, he was the vice president of the medical executive committee, but his interest has always been surgery, a fascination that began at an early age.

His mother, older brother and younger sisters all had cleft lips and cleft palates and the family had established a relationship with a plastic surgeon at UAB.

“I saw the quality that he had done with their repair, and it made a huge difference in their lives,” Binkerd said.

However, he did not start medical school until he was 32 years old, but having his own T.V. repair shop allowed him to have a flexible schedule to attend college as well.

Binkerd was accepted into the rural medical scholars program, which is designed to help people from rural places get into medical school with the intent that they come back to serve in those rural places after earning their degree.

He went to medical school at UAB and afterward did his surgical residency at the University of South Alabama.

The duties of the chief of surgery include helping determine policies and protocols regarding surgery.

Since a young age, Dr. Binkerd was fascinated with the medical field. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

When a new surgeon applies for privileges, there is a vetting process that they must go through, which Binkerd will be heavily involved in by going over applications and making sure that they meet the criteria established by St. Vincent’s Chilton.

“We have standards and like folks to have the proper training, because you don’t want anybody just coming in and whittling on people,” Binkerd said.

He will also be involved in the day-to-day operations and deciding the equipment that should be used for certain procedures.

His previous stint as chief of surgery at the former hospital only lasted a month and a half before the facility closed its doors.

Binkerd grew up 20 minutes north of Chilton County and currently lives in the county where he works, along with several of his family members.

After the former hospital closed, Binkerd worked out of Prattville and Wetumpka, but he always knew that he wanted to return to Chilton County.

“This is my home, so I wanted to be actively involved in this place [St. Vincent’s],” Binkerd said. “My main focus is here.”

He performs operations at St. Vincent’s Chilton on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The main goal of not only Binkerd, but also of St. Vincent’s Chilton, is to continue to offer as many options as possible for the residents of Chilton County to take advantage of.

According to Binkerd, a study performed at the University of Michigan showed that if a patient has a procedure done at their hometown hospital, the complication rate is less than if they went to have the procedure at a bigger hospital.

Some of the reasons behind the results included more personalized care and a lessened infection rate, which led to safer outcomes.

New surgeries are continually being added to St. Vincent’s Chilton’s list of procedures.

“We’ve stepped it up, and [recently] did our first colon cancer surgery,” Binkerd said.

The capability to perform breast cancer surgery also exists at St. Vincent’s Chilton.

Binkerd looks to use the experience he gained from his previous stint as chief of surgery at the former hospital, even though it was only for a short term.

“Try to make use of as much time as you have, because you just never know,” Binkerd said. “You can’t guarantee tomorrow.”

However, Binkerd admitted that the feel at St. Vincent’s is much more stable than it was in the final days of the former hospital.

“We’ve got the support of the community and the county, and a quality system like St. Vincent’s that is managing it,” Binkerd said. “It’s nice to have people that are not profit driven, but patient driven.”

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