Rutherford County's booming population - up more than 55 percent since the start of the 21st century - has spurred its health providers to expand facilities and services to ensure high-quality care is in close proximity. The county's health care industry is anchored by Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center and by the Alvin C. York Campus of the Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, which provides primary care and subspecialty medical, surgical and psychiatric services to veterans.
Saint Thomas Rutherford opened its $268 million state-of-the-art facility off Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro in 2010, a move that sparked the city’s Gateway project of commercial and retail development. In addition to the 286-bed hospital, Saint Thomas Rutherford also boasts a stand-alone Bariatric Center, Center for Breast Health and Saint Thomas Heart center. In 2017, the hospital’s affiliate Saint Thomas Medical Partners opened a new full-service care center that provides primary care services, outpatient rehabilitation and imaging services for families.
Murfreesboro Medical Clinic & SurgiCenter (MMC), a multi-specialty medical facility, opened a new outpatient endovascular suite for procedures, such as venograms, arteriograms and angioplasty and added a breast tomosynthesis unit, which enables MMC to offer 3D mammography services to better detect breast cancers. MMC continued to recruit high-quality, well trained physicians and add new services to meet the diverse health care needs of a growing community, says Joey Peay, MMC CEO. Four more physicians signed to join MMC in 2017 and recruiting for physicians in several different specialties is under way.
"Being able to meet our local community’s health care needs with local offerings and minimal travel to receive care is key to helping Rutherford County achieve its growth objectives,” Peay says.
Prepped and Ready
Peay also stresses that the medical community must continue its rapid response to the county’s growing population and the community’s needs. Evidence of that response can be seen in facilities, such as TrustPoint Hospital, which announced plans to add 148 beds to its Murfreesboro location. The speciality hospital, which provides acute physical medicine and rehabilitation, behavioral health and acute medical psychiatry services, will invest $57 million in the expansion, which will create 400 jobs. In Smyrna, TriStar Stonecrest Medical Center announced plans to expand its Emergency Room to accommodate increased demand.
“We've definitely seen an increase in [the number of people coming to] our ER. A lot of that is because they want somewhere that's close,” says Kerry Lovelace Rogers, marketing director for TriStar Stonecrest. “We're not just a feeder for Rutherford County. We’re seeing many more patients from neighboring counties come here for care versus going into Nashville.”
Rogers says in the past year, the medical center has added several new general surgery providers as well as specialists in urology and cardiology. The hospital also opened a center for joint replacement in 2017, and Rogers says the hospital has experienced double-digit growth in areas such as outpatient physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy as well as cardiac care. Access to high-quality health care right in the community is one of the reasons Rutherford County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country, Rogers says.
“When individuals and families are looking to relocate, one of the main questions they ask is ‘Will I have to travel to get good medical care?’ And when companies are looking to locate here, they know their employees will have access to health care," she says. "Not only that, but we also have the opportunity to hire individuals who are moving into this area, and they have the ability to receive excellent medical care as well as a good job — without having to travel downtown.”
Peay agrees. “As businesses or individuals consider relocation opportunities, two sectors typically rise to the surface — education and health care. From a health care standpoint, this includes quality physicians, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and all other aspects of our health care industry,” he says. “MMC will continually monitor developments in the industry so that we can remain on the cutting edge of health care.”