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The Tommy and Shirley Strickland Cancer Center
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	ment was ….
The Tommy and Shirley Strickland Cancer Center

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ment was equipped with two of the highest resolution CT scanners believed at the time to be the only hospital in the state to have two of the highest resolution CT scanners.

An MRI was installed and the Pharmacy was outfitted with the latest technology, providing the ability to compound complex medications necessary for cancer treatment. The women’s pavilion birthing center was outfitted with luxurious labor and delivery suites.

Economically, the new facility more than doubled the number of healthcare jobs within the hospital system, staffing numbers grew from below 500 to nearly 1100 members.

Tommy and Shirley Strickland Cancer Center The idea of offering a cancer program for MRMC was hatched in 2003, and it took nine years for the Tommy Strickland Cancer Center to become a reality. There are two components of treating cancer related illnesses: medical oncology, (chemotherapy), and radiation therapy.

In 2005 Meadows hired Oncologist Dr. Nasser Janbay and Samantha Walker was hired as the lead nurse and department director, a position she holds today. Dr. Henry Cline, radiation a- , e. y

t a oncologist, came on board with the center 2012. According Howard Holman, former Meadows Senior Vice President, “The number of radiation oncologists Georgia is small. was absolutely huge for us to be able recruit Dr. Cline from an esteemed Piedmont program in Atlanta to a fledgling program in Vidalia. Dr. Cline from Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta is one of the best, an asset to this community.”

With the chemo program thriving, the decision was made to add a radiation program. In 2007 Meadows applied for a Certificate of Need from the state for a radiation facility and the battle began. Existing radiation programs in Statesboro and Dublin hired attorneys to contest Meadows’ application insisting there was not a sufficient need for another radiation program in this area.

In 2012 the CON was awarded, and Meadows opened the Shirley and Tommy Strickland Cancer Center. The 14,000 square foot expansion cost $5 million and of that amount, The Meadows Foundation, chaired by Karon Durden, raised nearly $3 million in local donations. The expansion includes 13 private chemo infusion suites large enough to accommodate continued from page

the patient and several family members.

There are 8 medical oncology rooms equipped with the latest treatment technology, a state-of-theart linear accelerator in the radiologic oncology portion of the facility and a 16-slice large Bore CT Simulator, which is used to mark and plan for the radiation treatments. The facility has the capability to treat up to 35 patients per day and an average treatment lasts 8-20 minutes dependi ing on the Offeringahigh goodforsmallindepen on diagnosis and treatment.

The Cancer Center was named in honor of Tommy and Shirley Strickland as the result of a substantial gift the couple made to make the Center a reality. MRMC CEO Alan Kent said, “We are deeply grateful to Tommy and Shirley for their amazing generosity. With their gift, the Strickland family has shown their steadfast dedication to enhancing cancer care in our region, leaving a lasting mark on cancer care and treatment.”

Sustaining Quality Health Care for the Future Meadows Hospital has always been a unique hospital serving as the medical care center for the smaller rural counties surrounding Toombs. Located half way between major medical centers in Macon and Savannah, but far enough away, there has always been the need for quality healthcare at a higher level than many rural hospitals are able to provide. higher level of care requires new modern facilities, keeping up with the everevolving advancements in medical technology, updating equipment and procedures. In other words, it requires significant amounts of money to maintain a small community hospital.

The new version of MRMC was built with HUD financing and that came with a “house payment” of over $5,000,000 a year. That payment did not include the other operating expenses associated with running a hospital on a day-to-day basis. Insurance companies and government programs began paying less and less every year.

According to longtime board member Reid McArthur, “It became very obvious to the governing boards of Meadows that this was not a sustainable equation. Not that the hospital would shut down completely, but cuts would have to be made to make it financially viable and trends were not looking independent hospitals across the state and nation.” The Meadows board began a long and arduous process of interviewing groups that might be interested in merging with buying Meadows outright to make it sustainable. At the end of this process the board selected Hospital Corporation of America, (HCA). McArthur continued, “Although no transaction can make everyone happy this decision has been great for healthcare present and future in our area. HCA has invested tens of millions of dollars in just over two years and has extensive capital plans for future development. We simply would not have been able to afford to do these investments and improvements as an independent hospital. As a past board member ,I am pleased that what we helped build in our community will survive and thrive.”

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