Augusta University and its health system have reached an agreement to share expertise in health care operations and management with the 56-bed Washington County Regional Medical Center in Sandersville, Georgia. This agreement is the first step in a broader discussion about how the state’s only public medical school and affiliated health system can partner with an important rural health care provider to ensure appropriate health care options for Georgians in the Sandersville area. Initially, the relationship will place special emphasis on emergency medicine and subspecialty services.
Washington County Regional Medical Center has served the towns of Sandersville and Tennille and surrounding communities in Washington, Hancock and Johnson counties for more than 50 years through a variety of inpatient and outpatient services. The medical center also operates a 60-bed extended care facility adjacent to the main hospital.
Like most rural hospitals across the state, Washington County Regional is facing many challenges as the landscape of health care in America continues to shift.
Dr. William P. “Bill” Kanto, Jr., Vice President for Clinical Outreach will be the lead liaison between the academic health center and WCRMC. “I look forward to further developing the productive working relationship that we have begun with Jim Croome, chair of the WCRMC Board, and with the dedicated staff of the hospital,” Kanto said. “This hospital plays a significant role in the lives of the people in this area, and we want to contribute what we can in helping to ensure that they have access to the health care that they need.”
This collaboration comes at an exciting time for the facility, which just this week received overwhelming support from the community in the form of a bond proposal designed to put the hospital on more secure footing.
Jim Croome, chair of the WCRMC Board of Directors, has been a key advocate for the hospital. “I appreciate the opportunity to draw on the experience of Dr. Kanto and the resources of AU Health,” Croome said. “WCRMC is a valuable asset to our community. The leadership of the hospital is committed to doing what is necessary to address the hospital’s challenges and to ensure that it not only survives, but thrives. We appreciate the vote of confidence that the community placed in this hospital by supporting the recent bond proposal. Those resources are vital to moving the hospital ahead.”
Augusta University Health and WCRMC already collaborate to deliver advanced comprehensive stroke care through an award-winning telemedicine program pioneered at the university’s Medical College of Georgia. A secure internet connection enables Augusta University neurologists to assess and guide life-saving treatment for stroke patients at WCRMC without actually being there.