TRMC, SAMC alliance a smart move

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2014

As Troy Regional Medical Center marked its 45th anniversary last week, the hospital positioned itself to meet changing needs for the next 45 years by forming a clinical partnership with Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan.

The alliance allows TRMC, a rural hospital, to align itself with a larger, regional medical center whose staff and clinicians can provide specialized services not found in Pike County.

In many ways, the move cements TRMC’s refining of its focus and its role. The hospital leadership has spent three years evaluating what it does well – and conversely what isn’t profitable or beneficial.

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As Sherroll Crowe, chair of the Troy Hospital Health Care Authority said last week, “TRMC is not meant to do everything. We know our place.”

From diagnostic services to orthopedic surgeries, TRMC does many, many things well. It recently received Joint Commission accreditation, earning high praise from the visiting team on the quality of care and the commitment of the staff to excellence in all areas, from patient services to facilities. And the hospital board and administration are working to stabilize the facility financially, in spite of ongoing challenges caused by changes in federal and state health care funding.

Representatives from both TRMC and SAMC talked in depth last week about the need for these types of partnership, ones that will allow rural hospitals and their patients access to larger care centers, and the importance those partnerships will play as health care evolves in the next 10 years. Experts predict that many rural hospitals will face increasing financial challenges and insurance and federal funding changes take place.

When Dr. Oscar Edge opened his hospital in Troy 45 years ago, he sought to bring much-needed medical services to his hometown. He wanted to help the people who were sick, who needed surgery, who needed a place to have their babies. And he wanted to provide a safe, secure and accessible health care facility to do just that, staffed with caring and well-trained doctors and nurses.

His vision remains strong, 45 years later, even as technology and governance bring exponential changes to the business of health care.

This alliance is a necessary step – a smart step – to ensure that the patients who go to TRMC each day can be served, just as Dr. Edge intended 45 years ago.