(Note: The following is part of a series of columns looking at the establishment and growth of doctors, hospitals and the health industry in Georgia and Bulloch County.)
Almost everyone agreed in the 1960s that a larger hospital was needed. Local organizations urged the citizens of Bulloch County to approve passage of a bond referendum to build the new hospital.
Bond funds would not only increase the number of hospital beds to 115; they also would expand the emergency room, X-ray, pharmacy, nutrition and laboratory departments.
A new air conditioning and heating system would greatly increase the comfort of both patients and staff. Most importantly, a new hospital would provide more new jobs for the community.
Waymon Reese became the new hospital's first administrator in 1965. In addition, the Bulloch County Hospital Foundation was created to find ways to pay for future expenses.
Also, the hospital soon earned full accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. The hospital was renamed Bulloch Memorial Hospital in 1976, with Aldine Rosser as its first administrator.
In 1979, the hospital completed a $2.9 million dollar expansion of emergency room and intensive care facilities, as well as enlarging the admission and dining areas.
In 1984, facilities were constructed for obstetrics, radiology and surgery. They also built a new patient wing. William T. Richardson was appointed as the next hospital administrator in 1985.
With 33 departments that employed more than 400 people, there were 158 beds served by a staff of about 40 doctors, trained in almost every field of medical practice.
Next, the hospital furthered expanded its Level Two certifications, and introduced CAT, mammography, ultrasound services and nuclear medicine scanning equipment.
Health Management Associates purchased the hospital in October 1995.
Based in Naples, Florida, HMA built the new facility, which they named East Georgia Regional Medical Center. The $55-million facility opened with 150 beds and a staff of 60 doctors on July 16, 2000.
In 2014, Community Health Systems, the nation's largest healthcare system, announced a sale/merger agreement with Health Management Associates for nearly
Once the deal was completed, Community Health Systems owned 206 hospitals in 29 states. This meant the company facilities now hold more than 31,000 patient beds, according to a news release issued by the company.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.