Stephen Pennington is the chief executive officer for East Georgia Regional Medical Center.
STATESBORO, GA – I write today with hope for the future and gratitude for the resilience of our provider team at East Georgia Regional Medical Center and for our entire community’s resilience. The pandemic has demonstrated how interconnected we all are, the impact each one of us can have and the benefit of working together for a common cause. We care deeply about our community and remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver safe, quality healthcare services.
The hope and belief we can make a positive difference each and every day is always present in a hospital, but its frailty has been very clear this past year. Tens of thousands of patients received the medical care they needed thanks to our physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, lab techs, housekeepers, food service workers and other providers who have worked tirelessly to maintain a safe environment. Our family of caregivers put aside their personal fears and concerns and came to help every single day, with bravery and courage.
More than 1500 babies took their first breaths and we celebrated with their families. Thousands walked away in better shape than when they came in – with less pain following a joint replacement, a heart beating in rhythm after receiving a pacemaker or a smile of relief when their screening mammogram or colonoscopy was clear.
With pride and relief we cheered dozens of patients who left for home after beating COVID-19. But there have been times of sadness too, as our caregivers helped patients transition at the end of life and comforted the loved ones who grieve for their loss.
Helping people get well and live healthier is rewarding work, and we are grateful for the trust every patient places in us. And we feel the support of the community as you’ve extended your thanks and encouragement through prayers, cards and posters, first responder parades, signs, sidewalk chalk, meals and more.
Led by a local administration and advisory board of community leaders and physicians, we are putting our resources toward increased medical services, facilities and technologies that are important to our patients. Examples of these include our purchase of more ventilators and new patient beds, investments in an electronic bed management system, new surgical and imaging equipment, expansion of our cardiac monitoring system, upgrades to our sterilization equipment which supports surgical services, and addition of specialized Laboratory equipment for COVID-19 testing, Also, the recruitment of primary care providers and physician specialists means providing more service options here locally. Many of our physicians are now offering telemedicine, making it easier than ever to see the doctor when you’re in the comfort of home.
We value our relationship with Statesboro, Bulloch County, and the surrounding areas. The more than $1.4 million in property and sales taxes we paid last year support critical infrastructure such as first responders, schools and roads. Wages and benefits for our provider team generate buying power for local goods and services and help drive the local economy. And we deliver care for our most vulnerable residents, last year providing more than $95 million of charity and uncompensated care.
Hope is on the horizon as COVID-19 vaccinations are underway and we look forward to a time when we can all gather. Until then, keep up the safe practices – wear a mask or face covering, maintain social distancing and regularly wash your hands. By following these simple acts we can do extraordinary things.