Dr. Christopher Mathews has been selected as the Effingham Hospital’s chief of staff, replacing the outgoing Dr. George Brelsford.
As chief of staff, Dr. Mathews will act as the liaison between the medical staff and the hospital administration and board of trustees, said Effingham Hospital Administrator Norma Jean Morgan. Dr. Mathews’ term began July 1.
“He is the voice of the medical staff,” Morgan said.
Dr. Mathews also will represent the medical staff in reviews of policy changes at the hospital.
There are approximately 100 medical staff members in some capacity with the hospital. There are nine active physicians on staff and most of the others are consulting physicians who can refer patients for treatment at Effingham Hospital. They also will admit patients to the hospital, in conjunction with other doctors.
Dr. Brelsford’s practice, which re-opened in February after a brief closure, has closed again permanently. A sign on the office door said his office is closed due to an illness on Dr. Brelsford’s behalf.
“He’s such a sweet person,” Morgan said of the 59-year-old Brelsford. “He was concerned his patients would not have a physician.”
The end of his practice, which served from 1,000 to 1,500 patients, leaves a gap in the family care field.
“We are working to try to fill that gap,” Morgan said. “Effingham County is certainly underserved for physicians.”
The hospital has been working to recruit physicians and the county’s population growth has put it behind the ratio of physicians to people.