A BRIGHT FUTURE:
Since its opening in 1963, Meadows Hospital has served its community well. The hospital has grown and become a regional healthcare facility, offering high-quality care for patients in Toombs and several surrounding counties. Its growth led to the need for a larger hospital and in 2011, Meadows Regional Medical Center opened a new facility. At this time, the hospital was growing, adding new services and technology to serve its patients.
While Meadows was enjoying success, many rural hospitals around the country were facing financial challenges. Hospital board members and leaders began to think about the future and how to position the organization for success. They wanted to ensure the hospital would be able to grow and serve the region for generations to come. In 2017, the board hired a consultant to evaluate future prospects and the decision was made to seek a strategic partner. After a three-year search process, the Board selected HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest providers of healthcare services. HCA Healthcare was chosen for their commitment to highquality community-based hospitals and their focus on serving patients and giving back to the communities they serve. Meadows benefits greatly from HCA Healthcare’s scale, which enables its facilities to conduct leading-edge research, share best practices and most importantly – deliver the type of care patients need, when and where they need it.
Meadows Hospital joined HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division in May 2021. The facility was renamed Memorial Health Meadows Hospital to connect it to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah and reflect HCA Healthcare’s presence in the region. Hugh Tappan, President of HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division, said, “We are committed to continue the services and high-quality care provided at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital.” A cookout was held to celebrate the new partnership, with leaders from the South Atlantic Division and Memorial Health on hand to welcome the Meadows team to HCA Healthcare. In July 2021, Matt Hasbrouck joined Meadows Hospital as its new chief executive officer. He is an experienced leader who served previously as chief operating officer (COO) at Memorial Health University Medical Center following its integration into HCA Healthcare. There, Hasbrouck led several major strategic initiatives including the construction of southeast Georgia’s only freestanding children’s hospital, a major expansion of their Heart & Vascular Institute and the expansion of Memorial Health’s robotics surgery program. “Matt Hasbrouck’s unique experience of transitioning an independent facility to an HCA Healthcare facility makes him the right person at the right time for Memorial Health Meadows Hospital,” said Tappan. Hasbrouck also served as the COO of Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin, GA, earlier in his career so he was well familiar with the region served by Meadows Hospital.
Around this same time, there was a resurgence of COVID-19 around the country and the local communities were certainly impacted. Fortunately, through the vast resources of HCA Healthcare, Meadows Hospital was well stocked and had the necessary supplies and equipment to care for all of its patients. Hospital colleagues continued to persevere through the most acute pandemic in our lifetime, caring like family and never backing down.
Hasbrouck established one of his primary goals for Meadows Hospital early on; that is, to “bring healthcare closer to home.” The facility began to see changes and improvements immediately as part of the HCA Healthcare family. In 2021 alone, more than $12 million was invested in various equipment, infrastructure, and programs to provide the very best care to its patients. New equipment included hospital beds, monitors and technology for the operating rooms.
One of the first investments was a $2+ million robotic-assisted surgery system. Robotic surgery offers many benefits to patients, including smaller incisions, less pain and faster recovery. This new technology allows patients to have robotic surgery procedures closer to home and not have to travel to larger hospitals. The first robotic surgery at Meadows Hospital was performed in January 2022, and more than 300 robotic surgeries were completed in the first year. Some of the procedures now being performed robotically include hernia surgery, gallbladder surgery, and hysterectomies. In addition, Meadows Hospital now offers robotic-assisted bariatric surgery; the first procedure was performed in June 2022. There are now nine surgeons performing robotic surgery procedures at Meadows Hospital and more than 575 cases have been completed to date.
Another priority was to bring new physicians to the community so that patients didn’t have to travel outside of the region to see specialists. In the first year, Meadows Hospital added 55 new providers to its medical staff. Since joining HCA Healthcare, the medical staff has grown to more than 250 physicians. Some of the new specialists that have been added include bariatric surgery, hand surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, pediatric surgery, neurosurgery, and urogynecology. Many of these specialists are affiliated with Meadows Hospital’s sister facility, Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. Meadows Hospital also serves as a training site for new physicians; most recently implementing a fellowship program for family medicine & obstetrics in partnership with Memorial Health University Medical Center. Plans are in place to add residency rotations for internal medicine, obstetrics/ gynecology, and emergency medicine.
In early 2022, Meadows Hospital added two electrophysiologists to its staff to provide care for patients who have issues with their heart's electrical system; this includes conditions such as atrial fibrillation, abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmia. The hospital has offered advanced treatments for heart disease for more than 20 years, and now patients can be treated for heart rhythm problems locally. The electrophysiologists are performing ablation procedures in the
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cardiac catheterization lab at Meadows Hospital.
Since joining HCA Healthcare, Meadows Hospital has earned several accolades for healthcare quality. The facility had a very successful accreditation survey from The Joint Commission earlier in 2023. Meadows Hospital was also one of only six hospitals in Georgia to earn a 5-star rating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 2022 Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings. The hospital’s Women’s Center was nationally recognized as a top maternity hospital. Most recently, Meadows Hospital was recognized as one of the top recommended hospitals in Georgia. This accolade came from CMS star ratings and is based on the question, “Would you recommend this hospital to your friends and family.” Meadows Hospital was one of only eight hospitals in Georgia to earn five stars on this measure.
Community is also a priority for Meadows Hospital. The organization has always been an outstanding corporate citizen and this commitment has only strengthened as part of HCA Healthcare. Nationwide, HCA provides millions of dollars in healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured populations; from May 1, 2021, through December 31, 2022, Meadows Hospital has provided more than $20.4 million in charity care to improve the health and well-being of the people of Vidalia and surrounding communities.
Meadows Hospital is contributing $250,000 over a 5-year period for community initiatives. To date, these funds have benefited the United Way of Toombs, Montgomery and Wheeler Counties, the Boys & Girls Club of Toombs County and other local organizations. Meadows has also funded nursing scholarships at both Southeastern Technical College and Brewton-Parker College. The hospital has also sponsored events and organizations including the Vidalia Onion Festival, the Greater Vidalia Chamber of Commerce and the Real Squeal BBQ & Music Festival in Lyons.
Meadows Hospital boasts a strong economic impact on its region. The hospital paid more than $100 million in salaries, wages and benefits from May 1, 2021, through December 31, 2022. Vidalia and Toombs County will also benefit from taxes paid by Meadows Hospital as a tax-paying entity. In 2021 and 2022, the organization paid $4.8 million in taxes. Those dollars are used by local and state governments to benefit infrastructure, schools and more.
Most important, Meadows Hospital will continue to grow to serve Toombs County and the surrounding region. HCA Healthcare has already spent approximately $75 million in capital investments for Meadows Hospital. The organization is clearly committed to its goal to bring healthcare closer to home.
“For 60 years, Meadows Hospital has been unwavering in its commitment to provide high-quality care for our region. I am certainly excited for our future and look forward to bringing even more healthcare services to our region. Thank you to our colleagues, physicians, and community partners for their commitment to our mission, that is “Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life,” said Hasbrouck.