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Rutherford County, TN Hospitals Enhance Patient Care Options

Rutherford County hospitals are transforming health care in the region through new technologies and innovative delivery of care.

By John Fuller on May 29, 2014

Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro / Brian McCord

Mothers-to-be have high expectations. Today, that includes a hospital capable of caring for premature babies and other newborns who need special attention. In response, TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna recently opened a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“Building our new Level IIB NICU was about serving the needs of our community,” says CFO Joe Bowman. “TriStar StoneCrest delivers 1,000 babies each year, but we could not previously serve higher risk patients. Since the unit opened in May 2013, our deliveries have increased 25 percent to 30 percent, while our NICU served 70 babies in 2013.”

TriStar StoneCrest’s commitment to providing optimum care for its youngest patients is just one example of how Rutherford County hospitals are continually enhancing technology and upgrading facilities to meet patient needs. Two years ago, the hospital added robotic surgery, and it continues to expand the program, recently adding colon and gynecologic procedures.

“We performed the first robotic single-site gall bladder removal in our operating room last year,” Bowman says.

The hospital is also boosting its imaging capabilities with a new 64-slice CT scanner. “This increases the number of CT scans we can conduct for outpatient and inpatient needs, reducing abdominal and stroke scan time for patients in the emergency department, and expanding our diagnostic cardiology services,” Bowman says.

New Retail Clinics

To answer the demand for an alternative means of health care delivery, Murfreesboro Medical Center & SurgiCenter has launched two retail clinics in shopping centers, and a third is on the drawing board.

“So many people today look for convenience when seeking care, whether to get a sports physical for a child who needs it tomorrow or checking out the sniffles before they leave town for the weekend,” says CEO Joseph A. Peay. “Patients don’t always think about needing to be seen between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. the day before they get sick, and many today do not have a regular physician.”

To remain cutting edge, the health care provider recently invested in a SPECT CT, a hybrid nuclear medicine imaging system that eliminates the need for a patient to undergo two scans on different units.

“The quality of studies that this device is able to produce is amazing,” Peay says.

Going Mobile

Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, formerly known as Middle Tennessee Medical Center, is also finding new ways to deliver care where the patients are.

“Our new ‘Ministry in Motion’ mobile unit funded by a grant from the Christy-Houston Foundation focuses on our school-age kids and visits communities with a lack of access to primary care,” says President and CEO Gordon Ferguson.

In addition, the hospital recently relocated its Saint Louise Clinic to a building that houses nonprofit organizations like Dispensary of Hope and Community Helpers. This facility will also be the main training ground for the system’s new family medicine residency program operated in partnership with the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences. Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital continues to grow its staff, adding its first board-certified colorectal surgeon.

“We are in an ongoing physician recruitment mode to take care of our growing population,” Ferguson notes.

New Rehab, Behavioral Care

With the addition of TrustPoint Hospital to the local health-care grid, patients in Rutherford County and surrounding areas now have access to a state-of-the-art facility offering inpatient physical rehabilitation, as well as inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services for adults and seniors.

“Since opening, our inpatient behavioral health unit has grown to a 50-bed psychiatric unit,” says Director of Community Relations Chelsea Padgett. “We have also opened a dual diagnosis program, where we can detox patients for drugs or alcohol who have a co-occurring mental health condition.”

Current plans call for expansion to 60 beds, and two new physicians have joined the staff. TrustPoint Hospital also recently launched an Intensive Outpatient Program to provide structured treatment for people suffering emotional or mental distress, and to assist them through the transition back home after hospitalization. Additionally, the hospital offers on-site evaluations for veterans who are patients at the Alvin C. York campus of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. As Rutherford County’s population grows, area hospitals are focused on transforming the health-care experience for patients.

“We are always seeking opportunities to enhance our services and best meet the evolving needs of patients in our community,” Bowman says.

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