Patients and visitors stepping into Southwell Medical will find a space filled with natural light, neutral color tones, and walls accented with a series of photographs depicting familiar scenes from the region.
Southwell Medical (formerly Cook Medical Center) is part of the new Cook Medical Plaza located along Interstate 75 in Adel, between Valdosta and Tifton.
Officially opened on Oct. 1, the replacement facility enhances Southwell’s visibility within the community and region. “As people travel along the interstate, they will get a glimpse of our new, state-of-the-art facility, which reflects the high-quality care and talented medical staff that is available right here in Cook County,” says Southwell CEO and President Christopher Dorman.
While many small hospitals are closing around the state and country, the Southwell leadership team saw an opportunity to transform rural healthcare.
“Supporting Southwell Medical and developing the new replacement facility helps our health system fulfill its mission,” says Dorman.
The 43-acre Southwell Medical campus mirrors the same services that were offered at the previous facility, including acute care, diagnostic services, rehabilitation, endoscopy, sleep center, geriatric psychiatric care, skilled nursing, primary care clinics, and convenient care.
In addition, outpatient surgical services will be offered in a variety of specialties.
The 120,000-square-foot Cook Medical Plaza consists of three buildings. The main facility houses a 20-bed hospital; the Sylvia Barr Center, a 12-bed geriatric psychiatric facility; and Southwell Health and Rehabilitation (formerly Cook Senior Living Center). The remaining buildings include medical offices and primary care clinics.
At the cost of approximately $40 million, 70 percent of funding was through a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development loan. The additional 30 percent was secured with financial commitments from the Cook County Board of Commissioners, City of Adel, Cook County Economic Development Commission, and the Adel Industrial Development Authority.
According to Stephanie Murray, project manager with CDH Architecture, the design process for the Cook Medical Plaza incorporated empowerment of patients, family engagement, and community wellness.
Murray explains that wayfinding and easy navigation were also vital elements in the design of Southwell Medical. “A concourse model was developed that allows patient and visitor traffic to be separated from staff circulation, which creates a better experience,” she says. “This concourse layout also helps visitors and patients easily find the various departments in the hospital, reducing the stress that can often come about when trying to navigate the hallways of a hospital.”
The family engagement aspect is accomplished with sofa sleepers in each patient’s room, as well as amenities throughout the hospital for visiting family members. “There is a retail dining area and a front porch on the hospital side,” says Murray. “In the nursing home, several living areas are provided that allow residents to socialize with each other and also family members.”
While providing a full spectrum of wellness services, hospitals are also an integral part of a community’s economic viability.
Dorman extends appreciation to the Adel and Cook County community for its support in making the new facility a reality.
“We would be remiss if we did not express our sincere gratitude to the individuals and entities who made the services at this plaza a reality,” says Dorman. “We appreciate the efforts of the Hospital Authority of Tift County, the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the mayor and council for the City of Adel, the Cook County Economic Development Commission, and the Adel Industrial Development Authority. The replacement facility for Southwell Medical is a true example of a strong and successful public-private partnership, and for that, we are very grateful.”
Providing approximately 230 jobs, Southwell Medical, a leading employer in Adel and Cook County, is expected to hire 50 new positions across all areas of service.
“The hospital is one of our top three largest employers,” says Lisa Collins, executive director of Cook County Economic Development Commission. “These local jobs are of paramount importance for the long-term health of our community.”
Collins notes that in addition to the clinical and ancillary jobs, several supporting positions will bring further economic impact to the community and region.
“When there is a thriving hospital system with high employment levels, the demand for schools, housing, transportation, and other services will continue to grow,” says Collins. “If a company is looking for a place to build a new facility, they will never consider a community that doesn’t have a strong school and healthcare system for its employees.”
Collins says the community is taking great pride in the Southwell Medical replacement facility. “I am thankful that those who worked diligently to bring this new facility to fruition, and they may never be recognized for all of their hard work and countless efforts, but they will leave this world having created a facility that will help countless people for many years to come.
Tift Regional Breaks Ground on a New ER/Patient Tower, and Unveils New Name
While breaking ground on its new $152 million emergency room and patient tower, Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) also unveiled Southwell as the new name for its overall system of care.
According to TRMC officials, the new four-story tower will include a larger emergency center equipped to meet the growing medical needs of the region. The medical center’s current emergency room was designed to accommodate approximately 20,000 patients per year; and is now averaging 50,000 patient visits annually. The new tower will also include inpatient units and an intensive care unit.
New Name, Same Service
Southwell CEO and President Christopher Dorman, says that TRMC, Cook Medical Center, and the system’s 25 physician practices are now linked together under the brand name Southwell.
“We recently restructured as a not-for-profit entity in order to grow our services and expand our geographic footprint,” says Dorman. “We are already providing care in several other communities outside Tift County. We wanted to create a system name that can be appreciated everywhere we establish services.”
While there is a new name for the overall system, Dorman says, “Our network of care is still comprised of the same great people. We remain a locally-operated healthcare institution dedicated to providing exceptional care.”
Dorman stressed that TRMC has not been acquired. “We just have a new system name to connect all our services together,” he says. “Tift Regional Medical Center will remain Tift Regional Medical Center, but it is now an important hub of the Southwell family of services.”
Justin Beck, Southwell chief strategy and innovation officer, says the new logo is representative of a patient’s journey through life and their lifelong relationship to care they receive at Southwell.
“The patient’s journey has a beginning representing birth,” Beck says. “From that beginning, the patient’s life journey moves forward. The turns in the journey represent the different phases of life.”
Beck says the new tag line, “With You for Life,” also reflects Southwell’s focus that care goes beyond medical procedures. “We help carry our patients through the turns these changes make in their life journey.”