Local providers in Limestone County are keeping up with the region's growth by providing patients with great services close to home.
Whether you’re in need of an emergency appendectomy, an allergy shot or a pregnancy/birthing plan, you can feel confident you’re in the best of caregiving hands as a resident of Limestone County.
The Limestone area’s vibrant growth in recent years – and the promise of more – has prompted local health care providers to look hard at how to best serve their community, including providing compassionate, expert professional care close to home to eliminate traveling to larger cities.
“We are growing, for sure,” says Felicia Lambert, director of marketing, physician recruitment and volunteers for Athens-Limestone Hospital. “Being awarded the Mazda Toyota facility here in Limestone County (the company is building a world-class automotive facility in Huntsville/Limestone County, with production scheduled to begin in 2022) will bring 4,000 jobs in the next couple of years, and we’ve had several supporting industries that have come, too. Our 911 calls are already over what they projected for three years from now.”
Celebrating 70 Years of Service
In 2021, the hospital in Athens, an affiliate of Huntsville Hospital Health System, celebrated its 70th anniversary.
While excitement about the area’s rapid growth and bright future is high, it also puts demands on the health care system, Lambert says. Recruitment of doctors, nurses, laboratory professionals and other specialists is an ongoing challenge, not made easier by the demands on the area’s health care providers by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Athens-Limestone County Hospital
The full-service facility covers 100,000 residents of Limestone County as well as some Tennessee residents, offering services that range from addiction withdrawal and advanced wound care to urology.
“We are actively recruiting all the time, trying to keep up with the new people we have moving in,” Lambert says. “We just recruited three new physicians, family practice doctors and a hospitalist coming in November or December. We’re also recruiting pulmonologists, urologists and internal medicine doctors. And, of course, we have a nurse shortage like everywhere else, and we need respiratory therapists.”
In order to make health care more convenient for residents while expanding the range of services offered, the hospital in 2019 opened a new outpatient surgery center in the Athens-Limestone Tower in Athens.
It is the first center in Alabama to be equipped with the latest in cutting-edge high-tech systems that simplify and improve patient experience while helping providers focus on their patients more intensively. The facility also contains a lab, imaging and a pharmacy.
“We just try to expand our service line to make it more convenient for patients on the east side of Athens,” Lambert says. “That’s the rapidly growing part of town.”
And the Award Goes To …
Athens-Limestone Hospital’s efforts have brought it prestigious recognition. Its advanced wound care program was named a Center of Distinction and a Center of Excellence by Healogics in 2020. The hospital also received a Tier 2 Award – Progress Toward Excellence from the Alabama Performance Excellence Program for 2020. The award is based on several key criteria, including excellence in leadership, strategic planning, market focus, process management and analysis of organizational performance.
“We’re now actively working on reaching Tier 3,” Lambert says. “We are in a strategic planning year, looking to see what we can do to expand our services to take care of our community.”