If you didn’t get a chance to go through the new Effingham Hospital’s open house, you certainly missed out.
The 58,000 square foot expansion and modernization project surpassed even hospital officials’ expectations — and just about everybody else’s, too.
Ground was broken barely more than 13 months ago, and the doors were opened to a finished, gleaming product almost two months ahead of schedule and under budget.
There was a groundswell of public support for the hospital, and yet there were just as many questions as to its viability and to the need for such a massive project.
Skepticism of the project was merited. At $30 million and pledge of property tax support from the commissioners, it is certainly a bold undertaking.
But the new hospital appears to be built with sustainability in mind and also for the future. New operating rooms, new services and brand-new, cutting-edge equipment can help attract the kind of doctors and other medical professionals who will bring in patients.
More patients will mean more revenue and also mean fewer people having to go to Savannah. Savannah’s own community of doctors, specialists and nurses has few equals among its peers. The city is home to three top-notch hospitals and a contingent of expert professionals.
There always will be care and services in Savannah that either can’t be or will be difficult to have replicated in Effingham. But the hospital is beefing up more than just its basic outreach of care, too, and capturing that part of the health care market is vital. To give people a reason to come to Effingham Hospital means going through a modernization process such as the one the hospital has just completed.
The path is clear for the hospital’s future, and the active enticement of more doctors and more services is under way, including an orthopedic surgeon.
As Savannah surgeon Dr. Carl Boyd said, “If you build it, they will come, and we’ve already seen that happen.”
Two of his medical practice partners are coming to Effingham Hospital daily to see patients.
“People aren’t going to have to make that trip to Savannah,” Dr. Boyd offered.
And that is one of the reasons for the modernization and expansion. For some Effingham residents, the three Savannah hospitals are closer. But for many, the accessibility of more modern health care services is expected to be quite a draw.
“We are proud we have finally the opportunity to show everyone what services Effingham Health System now has the capability to provide,” said Rick Rafter, chairman of the Hospital Authority. “This project was more than just about building a new facility. It is the solution that preserves the future of medicine in the community. It has attracted doctors in new areas of medicine, attracted top notch medical staff and that is only the beginning.”
It’s the beginning of what promises to be a bright future.