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too slow— that is what we treat.”
Newton noted the prevalent need for this type of care throughout the region. “Even though the field we are in is unique and specialized, the problems we treat are extremely common,” Newton remarked. “For example, AFib (atrial fibrillation) is common, and is especially prevalent here.”
Senn pointed out that 10 to 12 million people in the United States have Afib. “The harder the access to care is, the less likely people are to get care. So, if you can make it easier, you create a better opportunity for people to receive what they need. For Vidalia to have this opportunity for all of the surrounding areas is incredible.”
Newton added, “Vidalia has a great hospital here, but does not necessarily have all the services which would be available in the big city. We are trying to improve upon the access to healthcare and that capability.” He noted, “A lot of folks here cannot drive an hour and a half to Savannah to get care. Also, a lot of times when you need care or a procedure, there are a lot of follow-up appointments. It is not just a single trip, it’s a lot of back and forth to Savannah. That is very taxing for many people, and they tend to go without care they could truly benefit from because of the difficulty in traveling.”
He referenced his and Senn’s ease in visiting Vidalia and their enjoyment in treating its residents. “Coming out here for us isn’t hard,” he said. “We can come out here periodically, and it allows these folks access to something they need and wouldn’t otherwise seek out. It doesn’t bother us to make the drive because it is an enjoyable day for us.”
Senn said that Vidalia reminds him of the town where he grew up. “It was a town of about 10,000 to 12,000 people. Most people knew each other — it was a small community, which is a good thing. Patients in these small communities tend to be very grateful and it’s an honor to serve them.”
Newton agreed, “I love this whole part of Georgia’s patient population. Folks here are just extremely friendly and tend to be very respectful and kindhearted.”
This team effort of serving Vidalia and the surrounding area is nothing new to Newton and Senn. In fact, the pair are longtime friends who have used their bond to best serve their patients.
Senn began his medical education at Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina. He spent three years doing residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore before studying cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic.
It was there he met Newton, who had completed his education at Washington University in St. Louis and the Medical College of Georgia. He completed his residency in St. Louis before transferring to the Cleveland Clinic to focus on cardiology.
“We became good friends while studying in Cleveland,” Newton explained. “I think it is rare to have a partnership where you have two potentially competitive electrophysiologists who are able to work together and trust each other’s skills. Because of that, I think we can provide a unique resource to a community like Vidalia.”
Senn continued, “Practicing with someone you’re friends with and trust is a great thing, but so is being able to expand what we’re doing in Savannah to other areas,” he said. The pair noted that after the Cleveland Clinic, they began working together at Memorial Health in Savannah where they met Matt Hasbrouck, who was COO at that facility. Hasbrouck later became CEO at Meadows in Vidalia, and it is his leadership that solidified Senn and Newton‘s decision to offer care in Vidalia. “This opportunity arises because we appreciate the community and what Matt has done,” Newton emphasized. “Matt Hasbrouck has been a great leader and administrator during his time in Savannah. He’s ambitious and really wants to provide top-level care to the community he’s serving. We want to continue to support that.” Senn noted, “We are so excited to be able to keep people at home for care, and we look forward to continuing to work with Matt and grow more opportunities,” Senn shared.