Healthcare Close to Home
Q&A with James L. Matney
SGaMag: During your past seven years as president and CEO of Colquitt Regional Medical Center, what have you identified as the medical center’s greatest strengths and challenges?
Matney: Obviously our strengths are our people. Our medical staff and our employees. But beyond that, is the commitment from the staff and community to keep our independence as a free-standing hospital and ensure that our hospital has the necessary resources to provide exceptional patient care. The challenge has been, and remains still, overcoming the obstacle of rural healthcare. People tend to think that “bigger is better.” We have always had to prove to folks that just because we are smaller and may be in a rural setting, patient care and access is not compromised.
SGaMag: In looking at these strengths and challenges, what goals and projects have been completed or established to help Colquitt Regional Medical Center move forward?
Matney: Initially it was a project of bringing our 35-year-old facility up to date. When I came on board, we had semi-private inpatient rooms, partitioned bays for our ICU, an emergency department that was half the size needed, and only three open operating rooms. We underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2014, and we haven’t stopped growing since. Our community now has a hospital with all private inpatient rooms, a new 10-bed ICU that accommodates family members comfortably, a 24-bed emergency room, eight operating rooms, an expanded radiology department with a 128-slice CT Scan and 3D mammography, and most recently a brand new oncology department that gives cancer patients the best care available in a very dignified way. Once we expanded and renovated the space to increase the size, we were able to draw folks back to our modernized hospital. Our expansion was designed to be patient and family friendly and equipped with the latest medical technology to improve patient outcomes.
SGaMag: What is Colquitt Regional Medical Center doing to recruit and retain a viable healthcare workforce?
Matney: Physician recruitment is difficult, especially as a rural hospital. Our solution was to recruit specialists, but to grow our own primary care. A strong primary care base will help hospitals grow faster than any other solution. This is why the Georgia South Family Medicine Residency Program came into existence. Those not raised in smaller communities often have preconceived notions about living in one. Our residency program trains doctors and allows them to experience first-hand the benefits that also come with living and working in a rural community. We are now in our third year of the residency program and we are already seeing the desired result. Physicians who trained here at Colquitt Regional have decided to stay and join our medical staff at the completion of their residency.
SGaMag: With healthcare technology continuing to change, how does Colquitt Regional Medical Center stay in the forefront of technology and service capabilities?
Matney: We spend a significant amount of funds to keep our workforce current an make sure the latest medical technologies are available to our patients. We have 100 percent of our technology advancements come from either a doctor, an employee or even patients that have heard about something new and asked if we could bring it here. We look at market share data constantly and know that in order to grow, we must stay current. Maintaining the status quo means that you’re falling behind. Additionally, each physician on our medical staff receives an allowance for continuing education. We also encourage our nurses to pursue board certification in their respective fields, and we now have over 110 nationally certified nurses on our staff.
Total employees: 1,247
Awards & Recognitions
Colquitt Regional Medical Center was named a 2017 Top Rural Hospital by the Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety watchdog organization;
Colquitt Regional Medical Center received eight consecutive “A” grades for patient safety by the Leapfrog Group; and
Colquitt Regional Medical Center was the first in the region to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Certification for its Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Program.