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Cook Medical Center to consolidate emergency services with Tift Regional Medical Center’s ER

Cook Family Wellness Center will begin offering extended hours for minor injuries and illnesses; emergency medicine patients will be transported to Tifton

Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) announced that Cook Medical Center’s emergency services in Adel will be consolidating with Tift Regional Medical Center’s emergency room (ER) in Tifton.  Cook Medical Center’s ER will close at 11:59 pm on February 28, 2017 and a clinic in Adel will begin offering extended evening and weekend hours for minor injuries and illnesses on March 1, 2017.  If there is an emergency medical condition patients are encouraged to call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest emergency center. 

Hospital officials said the move is designed to ensure the long-term sustainability and expansion of other hospital-based services offered in Cook County.  

“Ongoing reductions in reimbursements across the nation have created a risk of closure for one-in-three rural hospitals nationwide,” said Chris Dorman, TRHS President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).  “This environment creates a unique challenge of providing a higher quality of medical care at a lower cost to ensure longevity. Approximately 22.7 percent of Cook County’s population is uninsured, which led Cook County residents to seek minor medical care in the most expensive care setting--the emergency room.  Approximately five percent of those patients who sought care at Cook Medical Center’s ER were admitted or transferred to a higher level of care for an emergent medical condition.”

Dorman said Cook Medical Center has lost approximately $2.6 million annually since 2012, with the emergency room being the main contributor to that financial loss. 

“By consolidating this service, TRHS will be better positioned to invest in additional healthcare services for Cook County.” Dorman said, “These additional services could include outpatient primary care services with access to prenatal care and education, as well as the addition of specialists to drive improved health outcomes in much needed specialties such as cardiovascular disease, teenage pregnancy rates, obesity rates and diabetes management. By extending the hours at Cook Family Wellness Center for minor medical issues, TRHS will be able to provide a more appropriate level of care in the most appropriate setting to drive the mission of creating a healthier population.” 

Cook Medical Center will begin offering the extended hours at Cook Family Wellness Center, located in Adel at 103 James Street, on March 1st, 2017.   Starting on this date, Cook Family Wellness Center will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Cook Family Wellness Center will accept walk-in patients, but appointments are encouraged, even for the evening and weekend hours of operation. 

Cook Family Wellness Center will offer treatment for adults and children for minor conditions such as cold and flu, sinus infections, allergies, minor injuries, burns, rashes, sore throat, sprains and strains, bronchitis, ear infections, urinary tract infections and more.  Patients evaluated with a major medical issue will be transported to the nearest emergency center. For more information or to make an appointment, call Cook Family Wellness Center at 229-896-3424. 

Dorman said that TRHS has consulted with city and county officials and this initiative has met all state and federal clearances.  Lisa Collins, Executive Director of the Cook County Development Commission stated, “We appreciate Tift Regional Health System’s commitment to create a healthier population.  By reinvesting in more appropriate medical services to meet the needs of our community, they are ensuring that Cook County will maintain, and grow, a strong healthcare presence well into the future.  This will further enable Cook County to continue competing for business and industry in our highly competitive, global economy.”

Dorman also said, “Our employees are our number one asset and although this transition will impact a group of individuals our intent is to retain all of our talent.  We have roles throughout TRHS for all employees to continue to grow and develop with us.”

Cook Medical Center CEO Michael Purvis said that TRHS is committed to meeting the medical needs of Cook County residents, and the closing of the ER helps secure the future of the hospital.

“It is a trend nationwide for smaller hospitals to close or consolidate emergency rooms, and more is expected in the future,” said Purvis.  “Six rural hospitals in Georgia alone have closed since 2013, and we want to prevent that from happening at Cook Medical Center.  Shifting from emergency care to an after-hours clinic for minor medical issues is a pre-emptive measure to preserve other healthcare services and keep Cook Medical Center viable for the future.”

Call Cook Medical Center at 229-896-8000 for more information.  Click here to download a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet.