BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama (RMCCA) is making big strides to provide superior healthcare access in south central Alabama.
After becoming a member of the UAB Health System, RMCCA has been able to provide more patient services from Greenville, including access to surgical procedures, medical specialists, and critical care both in the hospital and through telemedicine.
RMCCA CEO Chad French said, “The advances in medical treatment and access to healthcare through technology is changing lives for the community we serve. Just a few years ago, someone needing specialized healthcare would have to travel away from Greenville. In many of those cases, a person could not travel greater distances because of impairments physically, economically, or socially.”
He added, “Our partnership with UAB is changing that and we are going to continue to strive to bring the best healthcare possible to this area.”
UAB general surgeon John Porterfield, a local native from the Searcy community who now practices regularly at RMCCA, said in a recent interview, “We realized people weren’t getting healthcare access and decided to expand our specialty services to other communities. For us to be here in this community and for me to be able to talk with a patient and say to them ‘we can take care of you in Greenville’ means a lot.”
He added, “So much of what we do now is outpatient. I did over 700 cases last year and only 20 had to be admitted to the hospital. Early mobilization is the key.”
Porterfield is a part of the UAB Surgery Group. He specializes in endocrine procedures for thyroid and parathyroid surgeries.
He is one of 17 general surgeons with a sub-specialty for the UAB Surgery Group. Four of those surgeons will come to Greenville on a regular basis. Two will come 12 days a month and two subspecialists will come two days a month.
Their long term objective is to have every day covered and to eventually have a full time UAB general surgeon living in Butler County.
Porterfield also said that UAB’s medical leadership is still actively seeing patients and performing medical procedures. “They are not just sitting behind a desk all day,” he said.
He felt it was a unique aspect of UAB and that the entire leadership structure is as clinically-focused and patient-minded as they’ve ever been.
RMCCA has also announced Cardiologist, John A. Williams, M.D. has joined their team of health specialists. “He has more experience with interventional cardiology and cardiac care than other specialists in this area and was previously a fixture in the Montgomery market,” said French.
French expects UAB will bring additional technology over the next year with the plan to provide more sophisticated services.
Procedures and treatments available now in Greenville include upper gastrointestinal procedures like endoscopy, anti-reflux, thyroid, bariatric weight loss and advanced laparoscopic foregut; and lower GI procedures like colonoscopies, hemorrhoidectomies and other anal/rectal disorders; along with minimally invasive hernia repair, appendectomies and gall bladder procedures, perennial in the abdomen.
In addition to local healthcare access for surgery and cardiology, RMCCA is a regional stroke center and provides Level III trauma services. Unlike other rural hospitals, RMCCA also utilizes UAB e-medicine specialists for ICU/critical care, nephrology (dialysis treatments), stroke and infectious disease 24/7.