A renewed Greene County Health System…Part 2

By Mynecia D. Steele

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Greene County Residential Care Center residents socialize as they enjoy a balanced meal prepared by the cafeteria staff.

The Greene County Health System (GCHS) believes in reaching out to the community, says CEO, Elmore Patterson. “We are encouraging people to come to the Greene County Health System through campaigns, billboards, posters and our website,” Patterson stated.
GCHS hosts free semi-annual health fairs. These fairs are held with the intention of educating the public on health information, benefits and services that are available to them. These events are open to all, Greene County and surrounding communities alike.

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Monthly health screenings are also provided throughout the county along with diabetes classes. Many Greene County residents suffer with high blood pressure and diabetes.
Town Hall meetings are held on a quarterly bases sponsored by the Greene County Health System. These meetings allow the community to voice their opinions and bring any concerns or thoughts to the attention of the GCHS.
Patterson shared that the Greene County Health System also started the “I am Greene because . . .” campaign to give the community a chance to show their support for the health system.  One poster features Thom Smith, who says, “I am Greene because GCH saved me from a massive stroke.”
Last year, the GCHS hosted A Day of Service in Branch Heights. As a result of this service project, every child in the Branch Heights community received eye checks and general physicals before the start of the school term.
GCHS also provides meals to the elderly every November.
The Greene County Health System hopes to make its mark on Greene County.  It strives to continue working with the community and informing them about health care and health disparities affecting African Americans in most rural areas.
GCHS provides the only hospital in Greene County, therefore, it becomes the safety net hospital, said Patterson. This means that the GCHS must provide care for people who have no money, or limited resources.  Many Greene County citizens do not have healthcare. The GCHS must provide for them with no profit in return.
“The county’s health status is lacking because the state of Alabama did not expand Medicaid,” Patterson said. “We care for about 1.2 million dollars of uncompensated healthcare.  The community must work together to help with those uncompensated people,” said Patterson.
He expressed appreciation to Greenetrack, Inc. and the sheriff’s department for the help they have provided recently.
The Greene County Health System is directing more people into its primary care. By visiting a primary care center, patients have the opportunity to build a relationship with a care provider whom they can follow up with regularly.
Patients who visit primary care are also more likely to take their medication, and less likely to come into the emergency room for non-emergency services.
The Greene County Health System plans to expand by setting up a primary care clinic in Boligee.
Many people don’t realize that the Greene County Hospital is the closest emergency room in the West corridor of Alabama on I-20, which leads into Mississippi.  Therefore, the Greene County Health System cares for many motor vehicle accident victims.
If outside people are willing to put their lives in the hands of the Greene County Health System, GCHS team hopes that the citizens of Greene County will also give them a chance.
“The only way you’re going to know if its good or bad, is trying it.” Patterson said. “Trying it for yourself; not going off of a rumor. We have to get past that.  GCHS is ours. We should use the facilities and support them as well,” he emphasized.

A renewed Greene County Health System Part 1

By Mynecia D. Steele

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The X-ray equipment located at the Greene County Hospital can be seen in an upgraded, under water themed, X-ray room.

The Greene County Health System (GCHS) is constantly working on improving its facilities and reputation, says Mr. Elmore Patterson, CEO of the Greene County Health System.
Patterson has worked to upgrade the Greene County Health System, and in less than three years of holding this position he has overseen various renovations.
But, Patterson does not take all the credit for the current condition of the Greene County Health System. Great employees create a comfortable environment for the patients and residents.
GCHS only hires the best Patterson said. There are three full time physicians, Medical Director, Dr. Salahuddin Farooqui, MD; Dr. Thomas McDermott, MD; Dr. Michael Gordon, MD; currently working within the health system.
The staff also includes one part time physician and two nurse practitioners, Kurtizzia Howard, CRNP and Cheryl Hill, CRNP. Each physician is board certified.
GCHS also has about 150 other full time employees. The staff includes: registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), certified nursing assistants (CNA), business office people and engineers. GCHS even works with the Greene County School System, providing its nurses to work in the schools.
Great staff is grounds for well-run facilities. The Greene County Health System is CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) certified. This is the same certification that all Alabama health centers are required to meet.
Yes, the facilities in the Greene County Health System are held to the same standards as all other health care facilities in Alabama. But, GCHS strives to go beyond the minimum requirements set by the state of Alabama.

Three Main Departments

The Greene County Health System is divided into three main departments. These departments are: the Greene County Physicians Clinic, Greene County Residential Care Center and the Greene County Hospital.
In addition to the three main departments, the GCHS provides urgent care, home health, rehab (including: physical, occupational, and speech therapy), radiology (including: x-ray and CT (computerized axial tomography) scans, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, Nuclear Medicine Testing and women’s care (mammography and bone density scanning).
The Greene County Physicians Clinic provides in house laboratory services, immunization vaccines for children, Medicaid EPSDT screenings, in house EKG services, injections (B12, Flu, Pneumonia, allergy), yearly exams, physicals (sports, DOT etc.), referrals to specialty services as needed, Saturday Clinic, mammograms and dexascans according to the GCHS website: gcheutaw.com.
All of these treatments are readily available at the Greene County Health facilities.
And, accessing the facilities is not a problem either. GCHS provides transportation for Greene County residents who don’t have a way to the GCHS campus.
The Greene County Health System not only provides a productive atmosphere for healing, but the facilities are top notch, as well, Patterson said.
“To bring a hospital to current health care trends, was a challenge,” Patterson said. “But, that’s where we are now.
“We are able to provide the same health care services that you can have rendered at any hospital in Alabama, for the care that we provide.”

Many Improvements Made

Many improvements have been made since Patterson became CEO.  The hospital is a 1958 Hill-Burton hospital. There had been no renovations before he arrived nearly three years ago, said Patterson.
Today, the facilities now have a much more modern look.
Showers and flat screen televisions have been installed in every hospital and residential care room.
The hospital has upgraded their cafeteria as well. Their meals are now aviliable to the public for purchase.
A secured dementia unit has been added on to the Residential Care Center. This renovation was completed within 30 days of Patterson becoming CEO.
Cleanliness is of utmost importance in the Residential Care center, as well.
This wards off that nursing home smell. It is important that the residents are in a safe and clean environment said Patterson.
The concern with cleanliness shows in their critics. The center is regularly monitored. Since 2013, their usual demerit count during reviews has decreased from 20 to only about six.
A buffet style line has been installed in the residential care dinning area.
Local barber, Marcus Steele and stylist, Linda Wheat visit the nursing home regularly to groom the residents. A salon and barber area has been added on to the residential care center to accommodate their services. This area includes shampoo bowl, styling chairs, hair dryers and everything needed to keep the residents feeling and looking their best.
The clinic is receiving a makeover, as well.  The roof is currently being redone.
Over the past few years the Greene County Health System has seen some major improvements, all with the community in mind.