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Health Care Expands To Meet Resident Needs In Rutherford County

Learn about the specialty health-care services that Rutherford County offers for residents and how these facilities are growing to meet needs of a rising patient population.

By Heather R. Johnson on May 25, 2016

Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro / Wendy Jo O’Barr

Over the next few years, Rutherford County’s population is set to surpass more than 300,000, and most of these people will need health care.

Fortunately, the county already offers a strong network of health-care providers to meet the area’s needs. Anticipating demand, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital expanded into a new, $268 million, 286-bed building in 2010. Other facilities have added new technology and broadened their physician network as well.

“The vision laid out for this hospital many years ago was to meet the needs of northern and western Rutherford County,” says Louis Caputo, CEO of TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center. “As the population grew, its leaders envisioned a comprehensive community hospital that would serve Smyrna, La Vergne and even Nolensville.”

Comprehensive Care

Founded in 2003 as part of HCA’s TriStar Health System, TriStar StoneCrest’s 109-bed hospital offers the comprehensive medical care its founders intended. Services include emergency, surgical, maternity, imaging, cardiology, neurology, orthopedic, physical medicine, sleep medicine and oncology.

TriStar StoneCrest’s Women’s Health Center has a strong reputation for complete care. The hospital offers spacious maternity rooms, lactation services, childbirth education and virtual visitation. A Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provides advanced care.

“We continue to make efforts to develop a more comprehensive women’s program, from birth to end of life,” Caputo says.

In November 2015, the hospital cut the ribbon for The Spine Surgery Institute. The department elevates the hospital’s spinal care services through a range of surgery specialties, patient education, personalized pre-and post-operative care plans, and physical therapy.

Health-Care Hub

Part of the Saint Thomas Health network, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital serves Rutherford as well as Bedford, Warren and Cannon counties. To better care for its patients, Saint Thomas Rutherford partners with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to offer a residency program. Residents work primarily in emergency medicine, which gives that department the manpower to serve more patients and improve wait times.

Saint Thomas Rutherford also plans to open a primary care clinic in Murfreesboro’s growing Salem area. “We want primary care to be close to the neighborhoods that are seeing significant growth,” says Gordon Ferguson, CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford.

Saint Thomas Rutherford, an American College of Surgeons accredited cancer center, is also part of Saint Thomas Cancer Care. The program allows doctors from the entire Saint Thomas network to collaborate to provide the highest level of care. “Our oncology specialists review cases to discuss diagnoses and treatment protocols,” Ferguson says. “The physicians share their knowledge to determine the best course of action for the patient.”

As the county seat, with an estimated 2014 population of 122,799, Murfreesboro offers many more medical centers and specialty providers. Murfreesboro Medical Clinic, founded more than 65 years ago, features more than 20 different specialties and sees more than 300,000 patients per month.

Walk-in clinics, called MMC Now, offer a more limited scope of services, but serve an important role. “Many patients in our community choose not to have primary care physicians, but still need care,” Murfreesboro Medical Clinic CEO Joey Peay says. “We provide a place where they can get care from a reputable organization. This often saves them a visit to the ER.”

Of Murfreesboro Medical Clinic’s specialties, its Comprehensive Breast Center stands out for its 3D mammography technology. A 3D mammogram allows the radiologist to view tissue in minute slices, which improves accuracy and reduces false positives.

“The technology is very new,” Peay says. “It’s been well-received by patients, and it’s strengthened our reputation as a center for breast health. We’ll do what we can to alleviate the anxiety that comes with waiting for that final determination.”

Not far from Saint Thomas Rutherford, TrustPoint Hospital provides physical medicine and rehabilitation services, behavioral health services for adults and seniors, and acute medical psychiatry. The Primary Care and Hope Clinic provides low-cost health care to the noninsured and the working poor. National HealthCare Corporation affiliate AdamsPlace provides residential and assisted living and rehab care for older adults.

Smyrna’s Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, one of eight state-operated comprehensive rehabilitation facilities, assists people with disabilities in achieving their highest level of functioning and working toward their employment goals. The facility strives to help clients live and work as independently as possible.

In a perfect world, people would need no more than a checkup as they move through life. In reality, when residents need specialty care, they can find it in Rutherford County.

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