The region’s newest healthcare facility will open its doors to patients at 7 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Wedowee Hospital to cease operations at same time.
Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama has received its license from the state and is ready to begin delivering patient care. The new facility was showcased to the community with a series of open house events and ribbon cutting ceremonies at the end of September, drawing thousands of guests and well-wishers, but could not open to serve patients until it received approval from the Alabama Department of Public Health. A group of state inspectors toured the facility on Oct. 31, and Tanner Health System leadership was notified on Nov. 8 that the state license would be issued.
Since late September, Tanner officials have worked with current Wedowee Hospital staff on training and implementing new protocols for the new facility. Staff has also been conducting tests and conducting calibration work for the new equipment and technology in the hospital, including new diagnostic imaging equipment, laboratory analyzers and more.
At 7 a.m. CT on Nov. 14, staff will close the emergency department at Wedowee Hospital and the new emergency department at Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama will begin operations. Throughout the day, patients currently receiving care at Wedowee Hospital will be transported by ambulance to their rooms at the new facility.
The first meal at Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama will be lunch, prepared in the hospital’s brand new kitchen and served to staff and guests in the new Tanner Café. Patients will be carefully placed in new beds in hospital rooms painstakingly cleaned and prepared for their arrival.
“It’s a logistical challenge,” said Jerry Morris, administrator for Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama. “But it’s the good kind of challenge. It’s the challenge we’ve been excited about for a couple of years now. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
The new Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama is a more than 50,000-square-foot, three-story modern hospital facility. The hospital will provide 24-hour emergency care, critical care support, inpatient and observation beds, a state-of-the-art surgical suite and advanced diagnostic imaging services, including computed tomography (CT), digital X-ray and ultrasound services. The facility features 15 private inpatient beds, eight emergency department exam rooms, a dedicated ambulance bay for medical emergencies and an on-site laboratory with modern analyzers and instrumentation.
Carrollton, Ga.-based nonprofit Tanner Health System, which operates Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama, has opened several new medical facilities in recent years, including the Willowbrooke at Tanner behavioral health facility in Villa Rica, Ga., in 2009 and the acute care Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica facility in 2003. Much of the leadership that helmed those openings have been involved in ensuring the Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama opening is successful.
“Every time you turn around, there’s going to be something new that has to be addressed, but that’s to be expected with a transition of this size,” said Morris. “We’re lucky to have had the expertise of our leadership, both in the community and through Tanner, to help us prepare for this and make sure everything’s in place to make the transition as seamless as we can for our patients, their loved ones and our staff.”
Patient room at Tanner Medical Center/East AlabamaState inspectors ensured that the hospital was ready to deliver care, checking the facility’s equipment, supplies, policies and more. Alabama’s Division of Health Care Facilities, which conducted the inspection, certifies that the level of care delivered by healthcare facilities complies with state and federal standards, ensuring patients receive the highest quality care possible while protecting patients from abuse and neglect.
“Like the rest of the region, we’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” he said. “It’s so gratifying that it’s finally here.”
Residents can learn more about the facility online at www.tanner.org/eastalabama.
Article directly from Tanner.org