180 new pregnant patients in January, just the icing on Madison Hospital’s 2nd birthday cake (updated)

MADISON, Alabama – Moments after a visitor collapsed in the hospital
lobby, the “med-alert” alarm sounded and Mary Lynne Wright hastily left her
board room and rushed to the scene.

It’s not standard protocol that the president of Madison
Hospital should react to every emergency in the 60-bed facility that celebrates
its second birthday today. But it is a standard of extra care and personal concern that Wright
said she and all of her 390-member staff believe is more attainable because of their

The ability for even administrative officials to check on
visitors in distress is one of the advantages of still being a small, community
hospital, Wright said.

Mary Lynne Wright 05 - edit.jpgMary Lynne Wright, Madison Hospital president

“When you’re small you can do some things a little bit
differently,” she said. “If I see somebody and I recognize that they’re a
little unsure about where they’re going, I’ve got plenty of time. I can stop
and walk them to where they’re going.

“That’s what you do at a small hospital. Everybody pitches
in,” she said, noting the cafeteria cashier also came to check on the welfare
of the person who fell in lobby.

While being small has its advantages, Madison Hospital is
growing, both in facility size and number of medical services and admitted
patients. That growth probably could
come faster, but the hospital on U.S. 72 struggles with getting physicians
from Huntsville to practice there. Still, a new 60,000-square foot medical
building is nearing completion on the 25-acre campus that will be a lure for
more physicians to establish roots in Madison.

The OB-GYN center, in particular, is already delivering more
babies than anticipated and poised for growth. The Breast Center is adding
another technician to meet demand for mammograms. In a couple of weeks, the new 64 Slice CT scanner will be operational. The hospital also will be adding
its second full-time physician, Dr. Doug Downey this summer. And administrators
are already hoping to enlarge the emergency department and thinking about how
to afford a surgical robot.

When the hospital opened two years ago, the first goal was
to get the emergency room established, Wright said. They anticipated 19,000
emergency room patients the first year and ended up seeing 37,000. They added
three more patient rooms to the emergency department in the first years, so it now has 15. Wright
said she “hopes” to add three more this year.

Logo.jpgView full sizeBirthday numbers

Lab Procedures — 366,792

Imaging Procedures — 101,689

ER Visits — 68,868

Patients Admitted — 3,190

Operating Room Procedures — 7,554

Births — 637

Six months after opening, the hospital began delivering
babies. It was averaging 25 births a month one year ago, and now is averaging more than 65
deliveries per month, with the highest month at 73 this past fall.

A big part of that growth came from OB-GYN Associates moving
its practice from Decatur to Madison, Wright said. The group already hired two
more physicians and plans to add a third this summer to handle growth, she

“When they add those kinds of numbers to their practice,
they are expecting it to explode,” Wright said. “They told me in January they
saw 180 new pregnant women. That’s a good volume for one practice to have. By
this time next year I’d like to see us delivering at least 100 babies a month. I
truly think we can get there.”

Getting a child birth center established is a key to Madison Hospital’s growth, Wright said, because it establishes a vital role
from the onset of starting a family. When parents give birth to a child at the
hospital, there’s a good chance they will bring their children back there when
they get sick or injured, she said.

“This becomes your community and this becomes your community’s
hospital. And that’s really what Madison Hospital is, a community hospital,” Wright

Other highlights during the past two years:

  • The Breast Center now sees 500 patients a month and is
    adding another technician that can increase that number by 150. The center,
    located in the Progress Bank building next door to the main hospital, just
    added a bone density scanner to check for osteoporosis in men and women.
  • The Vein Center opened in May 2013, and is treating 40 to 50
    patients a week.
  • The surgery unit, which has five operating rooms and two
    endoscopy rooms, is performing 350 surgeries per month for orthopedic, eye,
    pediatric, OB-GYN, urology, endoscopy and similar general surgery procedures. It is capable of 250 more surgeries
    per month.
  • On any given day, the hospital will have 15 physicians
    serving patients, including pulmonary, nephrology, neonatal, gastro-intestinal
    and infectious disease fields.

Wright said she anticipated having more physicians coming to
Madison when the hospital opened two years ago. It’s not that the doctors don’t
want to come, she said, but that it’s simply hard to accomplish logistically
because of the distance between downtown Huntsville and Madison.

“The biggest challenge that I’ve had is with our medical
staff because so many of our (Huntsville area) physicians live in downtown
Huntsville or Hampton Cove,” she said. “You can plan realistically an hour and half travel
time. Even though the physicians want to be out here, they struggle with the
logistics of getting here.”

The limited number of physicians, however, also is one of Madison
Hospital’s most attractive aspects to doctors, Wright said. The physicians feel
a little more special in Madison because there are fewer of them compared to downtown
Huntsville, and  that fits perfectly with the small-town charm the
hospital tries to convey with patients, she said.

“This is a very different environment,” Wright said. “It’s important
to me that patients or visitors that come to this hospital get a feeling
when they walk in these doors that we are embracing them and we want them to be
here. They have a choice of where they can go. They don’t have to come to
Madison Hospital.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/02/180_new_pregnant_pateints_in_j.html