Brooks County Hospital Celebrates 75th Anniversary

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Brooks County Hospital
Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One of Quitman’s most prized possessions is turning 75.

Brooks County Hospital is celebrating its 75th year of serving the citizens of Brooks County by providing quality, cost-effective healthcare.

Brooks County Hospital began in 1935 when a group of concerned local physicians decided to build a hospital in Quitman.

The hospital first opened its doors in September 1936, with 15 beds. In 1937, an additional 17 beds were added bringing the total to 32. In 1943 the hospital was damaged by a fire, repaired and upgraded.

The Hospital Authority of Brooks County was the formal operating organization of the hospital for many years. In July 1982, the Authority entered a long-term management agreement with Archbold Memorial Hospital. In 1987, The Authority leased the facility to Archbold Memorial Hospital, allowing Brooks County Hospital to participate in a multi-hospital system that can deliver quality, cost-effective healthcare to the residents of Brooks County.

The facility has undergone several building projects over the years. In 1974, the Brooks County Medical Building was constructed and now serves as office space for several physicians. In 1995, the hospital had extensive renovates to the Emergency Department.

Brooks County Hospital now has 25 patient beds.

Personnel coordinator Janet Eldridge has worked at Brooks County Hospital for over 32 years and she has seen many changes. “My first job after high school was in admissions at BCH. At that time we typed on typewriters. We didn’t have computers; everything was done by hand.”

During her tenure the Hospital has added skilled nursing and rehabilitation as well as a number of imaging services including MRI, CT and mammography.

“By offering these services in Quitman, it saves our residents from having to travel elsewhere,” said Eldridge. “The community is very important to us and has always supported our hospital. We are grateful for that.”

Eldridge said, “As a small hospital in a small community, when someone walks in the door, our employees can often call them by name. They’re not just a number; they’re a person. Our patients appreciate that we still operate that way. It makes them feel good.”

Benjamin Walter Romine, MD, lifelong resident of Brooks County practiced family medicine at Brooks County Hospital for 37 years. It was the community that encouraged him to return to his hometown after graduating from medical school in 1963.

“I love this pretty little town. I received offers to go other places, but I wanted to come home. My family has a long history here and I wanted to practice here. I wanted to help people and give back to the residents of Brooks County.”

Romine says that the standard of care at Brooks County Hospital has always been good and on the cutting edge. “The care delivered here in Quitman is beyond standard. The hospital is an integral part of this community. I don’t know if I would’ve wanted to practice medicine in Brooks County without a hospital available.”

“It’s rewarding to practice medicine in a small community like Quitman,” said Jill LeBoeuf, PA-C of Brooks Medical Associates. “It’s important for rural communities to have access to good, quality healthcare and Brooks County Hospital has afforded that opportunity to the residents of Brooks County for 75 years.”

“Archbold has contributed tremendously to our community,” said Romine. “We are blessed to have Brooks County Hospital and Archbold in our community.”

Eldridge says that the Hospital’s support and involvement in the community is one thing that has stayed the same over the years. “We offer an annual community health fair and free health screenings regularly at local churches. We are also very involved in fundraising for Relay for Life and the Boys and Girls Club.”

In addition, BCH is an economic engine for Quitman and Brooks County.

The Georgia Hospital Association recently released its 2009 Economic Impact Report, which quantifies the impact that Brooks County Hospital has on the community. Using the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis methodology, the report showed Brooks County Hospital’s local economic impact exceeded $25 million, including the creation or sustainment of 196 full-time jobs.

According to Eldridge, BCH employees are proud of their hospital. “We have many employees that have been here 20 or more years. There is very little turnover in the staff at BCH,” said Eldridge.

Ken Rhudy, Brooks County Hospital Administrator said, “We are the truest definition of a community hospital. While we deliver high quality care—this year we were one of nine hospitals in Georgia named to the Georgia Hospital Association’s Quality Honor Roll—our impact reaches far beyond the patients we serve.”

An anniversary celebration will be held at Brooks County Hospital on Tuesday, September 20, from 5:00-7:00 pm. A ceremony will be held at 5:30. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited to attend.