Community Turns Out For Meadows’ 60th Anniversary
Memorial Health Meadows Hospital marked its 60th anniversary at a festive event on Tuesday, September 26, in the hospital’s lobby. The evening was filled with tributes, music, food, and fellowship as the community turned out to help celebrate the momentous occasion. One of the highlights of the night was a presentation to local physician Dr. Benjamin Neely, who was surprised with an award for his contributions to the hospital and the community since moving to Vidalia in 1967. Dr. Neely was appointed to the Meadows medical staff on February 13, 1968, and continues to serve as a member of the staff. “He has been a part of the Mead- continued from page
ows family for 55 years and has cared for thousands of patients over his career and continues to see patients daily. He is the gold standard,” said Meadows Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karen McColl, who presented the award to Dr. Neely.
The celebration kicked off with a video presentation profiling members of the staff at Meadows who commented on their roles and experiences at the hospital. Meadows CEO Matt Hasbrouck welcomed the attendees, noting his time at Meadows has been the high point of his career. Hasbrouck, who came on board in 2021, acknowledged that he cherishes his job because of the hardworking team at Meadows and strong community support. “Just look around you. We are truly living our mission every day. And that mission is: ‘Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human lives.’ And that is not just patients’ lives, but the lives of everyone in the community.”
As research was conducted on Meadows’ history in preparation for a historical profile of the facility, Hasbrouck said he enjoyed learning about the people who came together and had the foresight to build the hospital. “Coming together with a vision, relentlessly pursuing that vision, working through adversity to get things done, that’s what it is all about. This great community has had many examples of this, and certainly this hospital is one of them.
“Over 60 years ago, people in this community joined together with the vision of providing quality, compassionate care close to home. They understood that to not just survive but to thrive, a community has to have strong local health care. Today we are stronger than ever, broadening our vision and caring for more patients than ever before.
“As we move forward, we are committed and honored to carry forth this legacy and rich tradition, investing not only in facilities and equipment, but in our people, our partners, and this community. A hospital is not merely bricks and mortar but the efforts of many who join together to make it a place of hope and healing.”
MHMH Advisory Board Chairman Anthony Miller, who has lived in the community 17 years and served on the Meadows advisory board for six years, told attendees that he has witnessed tremendous growth at the hospital. “Over the years, Meadows has become a major player in our regional health care community.”
MHMH welcomed its first patient in 1963 as the Dr. John M. Meadows Memorial Hospital. Through the years, Meadows has evolved into a regional medical complex offering a wide range of health care services — from its award-winning obstetrics/ gynecology department and birthing center, to robotic surgery, to its cardiac catheterization lab, to comprehensive, up-to-date techniques in cancer care through its Tommy and Shirley Strickland Cancontinued from page
cer Treatment Center and the Low Country Cancer Care Center, and much more. As it moved from a community-owned facility to join HCA Healthcare’s international network of health care facilities in 2021, Meadows has been able to provide even more progressive care through its HCA Healthcare partnerships.
Miller outlined key dates in the hospital’s development, as well as what it has meant for Meadows to become part of the HCA Healthcare family. He noted that Meadows opened its 8-bed intensive care unit in 1969; in 1992, Meadows began offering MRIs in a mobile unit, added the first CT scanner in 2000, and opened its sleep lab that same year; in 2001, Meadows opened its cardiac catheterization lab; in 2005, the hospital added chemotherapy for adult cancer patients; in 2009 Meadows broke ground for a new hospital and opened the new facility in 2011.
“HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s largest providers of health care services with a strong commitment to high-quality hospitals serving patients and giving back to their communities,” Miller said, adding that HCA Healthcare enables its facilities to conduct research and share best practices. “As part of the HCA Healthcare family, I am confident that Meadows will continue to grow and serve the surrounding communities.”
Mike Calhoun, former chair of the MHMH Alliance Board, told the audience as he stepped to the podium that the 60th anniversary observance was an emotional moment for him. “I have had a long connection with Meadows,” he said of his 30-year association with the hospital. He and family members have been patients there, two of his three children were born there, and he has been involved with leadership and the board directors at the facility. Calhoun noted, “Sixty years is remarkable in the life of any organization, and in that time, Meadows has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people. But Meadows is more than an organization, it is a family, and I feel very privileged and honored to be here tonight.”
Calhoun enthused, “With the most advanced technology currently available, an able staff and dedicated volunteers, and fortified with HCA Healthcare’s support, in my opinion, the future of hospital is very bright and strong.”
Calhoun announced to the assembly that as a result of the sale of the community- owned hospital to HCA Healthcare in 2021, a foundation was established and a board named to provide stewardship for the proceeds from the sale. Calhoun chairs the board whose others members include Reid McArthur, vice chair; Dennis Ingley, treasurer; Tim Truxel, secretary; Polly Ann Martin; Ronnie Stewart; and Anthony Miller. Calhoun announced that Dr. Susan McLendon will serve as executive director of the Meadows New Foundation, with Angie Amerson serving as administrative secretary.
“As time progresses, the foundation will provide supporting funds for community health care education and wellness initiatives while protecting the principle of the sale proceeds to provide services for future generations,” Calhoun said.
Dr. McColl, representing the Meadows medical staff, related that she has been a part of the Meadows story since 2002, when her husband Dr. Kurt Hoffman was recruited to join the medical staff. She signed onto the medical staff in 2007 as a gynecologist at the Meadows Women’s Medical Center, also assuming the part-time role of CMO that same year. When Meadows merged with HCA Healthcare in 2021, she became the fulltime CMO.
“In the 17 years I have been with Meadows, the hospital’s recruiting and bringing in new physicians has been a priority. Since 2021, Meadows has added many surgical subspecialists to its staff and with its association with HCA Healthcare and sister hospitals in Savannah and Dublin, Meadows is now able to offer bariatric surgery, pediatric outpatient surgery, plastic surgery, and more.”
Meadows is expanding into education for new resident physicians. “Last year we had a fellowship for family medicine physicians who have a desire to do obstetrics and gynecology as part of their practice,” Dr. McColl said, adding that plans call for residency positions in emergency medicine, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology over the next couple of years.
“Our hope is that the young physicians we bring to Toombs County will see that rural medicine is a fun place to have a career and after they finish training to join us in the care of patients here in Toombs County,” the CMO stated.