What’s good for SBMC is good for county

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Access to quality yet affordable healthcare is a challenge we all face at one time or another. Perhaps the need is as simple as an annual physical or flu inoculation. Or, perhaps you or someone you care about has a need for emergency care following a car accident or heart attack. While the urgency and significance of the need are drastically different, the bottom line is quick access to quality healthcare that we can afford.

That’s why Shelby Baptist Medical Center [SBMC] continues to look for new ways to increase its ability to serve residents of Shelby County. The healthcare industry, as we all know, is changing dramatically; so too must SBMC. SBMC’s mission as a non-profit hospital must make these changes even more confounding.

A few of the recent developments at SBMC and Baptist Health System:

u SBMC performed its first open heart surgery Thursday, August 26, 2004. Since that time, more than 1,100 life-saving heart procedures have been performed at the hospital.

Access to life saving procedures is of critical importance to residents of our county without question. What is in question is whether SBMC will continue to provide these services; that question will be answered by the Alabama Certificate of Need Board and our court system.

u Baptist Health System [SBMC’s parent company] sold its SportsFirst fitness centers to the Birmingham YMCA; one such center is located in Greystone off Highway 280.

u A partnership with Plano, Texas’ Triad Hospitals leaves Baptist Health System with a 35 percent stake in Montclair Baptist Medical Center. The partnership with Triad leaves Baptist Health System with complete ownership of four hospitals: Shelby, Walker, Princeton and Citizens [located in Talladega].

SBMC is seeking a certificate of need to form a separately licensed Ambulatory Surgery Center. The one-day surgery center would, according to Scott Williams, chief executive officer and interim president of SBMC, be a joint venture between the Baptist Health System and members of its medical staff.

Changes at our local hospital are, in my estimate, signs of a company evolving to meet the needs of its customers.

Baptist Health System is re-focusing on its core mission; part of which is making SBMC a top-tier non-profit hospital. And residents of Shelby County are being better served as a result