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Tift Regional begins construction of new musculoskeletal center

Left: An aerial view of the clearing site for Tift Regional Health System’s new musculoskeletal center, adjacent to Affinity Clinic on Highway 41 in Tifton.  

Right:  An architect’s rendering of the three-story medical office building currently under construction.

Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) has started the construction of a new $22 million musculoskeletal center at the Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) West Campus which will consolidate outpatient orthopedic, rheumatology, neurology, pain management and rehabilitation services into one facility. 

The TRMC West Campus is located in Tifton at the crossroads of Highway 41 and Interstate 75.  The Hospital Authority of Tift County secured low-interest financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program for the new facility project.  The musculoskeletal center will be a three-story, 80,000-square-foot medical office building on 11.53 acres of land adjacent to the Affinity Clinic building.  The project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2018.

“This project will allow for the relocation of existing physician offices and therapy services related to the health system’s musculoskeletal service line,” said Claire Byrnes, TRHS Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Services.  “It will enable us to provide a more multidisciplinary approach, offering a convenient, centralized facility for patients in a very contemporary setting.”

The first floor will be occupied by Georgia Sports Medicine, which offers general orthopedic and spine care.  Though the practice will be moving, Georgia Sports Medicine will continue to perform day surgeries at Tift Regional’s outpatient surgery center located in Tifton on John Orr Drive and inpatient surgeries will still be conducted at the TRMC main campus. 

The second floor of the musculoskeletal center will house the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of South Georgia, the TRMC Pain Management Center and Affinity Neurology, respectively offering rheumatology, pain management and neurologic care.  The third floor will be dedicated to TRMC outpatient physical therapy, spine therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Byrnes said the musculoskeletal center building, with accompanying parking lot, retention pond and a walking trail, will not be accessible from the residential street located behind the facility.  She stated that TRHS has worked with a neighborhood group over the past several months to address any impact the project may have on the residential area.

“There will be a fence behind the new facility along Emmett Drive, which will be accented with decorative shrubbery and landscaping,” said Byrnes.  “Some curb and gutter development will take place on this street during the construction phase.  Patients and visitors will only be able to access the new building from Fulwood Road, off of Highway 41, which is the current patient entry point for the TRMC West Campus and Affinity Clinic.  Staff will be able to enter an employee parking lot from 22nd Street.  This will be an outpatient facility only, with no emergency services, so there will be no constant sirens or high traffic affecting the nearby residential area.”

A new orthopedic surgeon will be joining Georgia Sports Medicine in summer 2017 and TRHS is recruiting an additional orthopedist to join the practice as well, but the new musculoskeletal center will not result in a significant amount of net jobs.  “Since we are relocating current services, there will be minimal positions added at first, though it is our vision to grow this program as a center of excellence and attract even more patients from the region,” Byrnes said.

After the physician practices and rehabilitation departments move into the completed musculoskeletal center, the vacated offices and buildings of these services will be used for other purposes.  All are situated around the TRMC main campus. 

“At Tift Regional, space is at a premium, so we will use the emptied facilities for other clinical and support services,” said Byrnes.  “In the case of the old Georgia Sports Medicine office buildings on John Orr Drive, we will most likely demolish those structures in order to make way for additional hospital parking and facility growth.”

Byrnes said this is noteworthy because the Hospital Authority of Tift County has a new expansion project for Tift Regional Medical Center in the planning stages, which will consist of a new emergency room and patient tower.  The authority is also exploring a replacement facility for Cook Medical Center in Adel.  “These are additional capital projects we have in the pipeline over the next few years,” said Byrnes.