By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – A new day has dawned for medical service in Houston County with the grand opening of Timberlands Healthcare on Wednesday, Nov.9.
The hospital facilities in Crockett have undergone a complete makeover in the last few years as the hospital went from ETMC-Crockett to the Houston County Medical Center and now to Timberlands Healthcare under the umbrella of Little River Healthcare.
The ceremony began with a press conference and introduction of several members of the leadership team. Seated at tables near the front of the conference room were: Peggy Borgfeld, CFO of Little River Healthcare; Deborah Porth Blackwell, President of the Houston County Hospital District (HCHD); Dr. John Stovall, Vice-President of the HCHD; Robert Torres, Interim Administrator of Timberlands Healthcare; Jeff Madison, CEO of Little River Healthcare; Dr. James Callas, Chief Medical Officer for Little River Healthcare; and Ryan Downton, Chief Legal Officer of Little River Healthcare.
Following the introductions, Dr. Stovall provided a brief history of the hospital in Crockett, from its roots in the early 1930s as the Jim Smith Memorial Hospital until the present day.
Downton followed Stovall’s address and commented, “Little River Healthcare started in 2010 with one small hospital in Rockdale, Texas. We had a vision to take the great healthcare specialists in major urban markets around the state and bring them into smaller, rural communities.”
He stressed while it seemed the trend was to transport rural patients to urban areas for specialized treatment, “We don’t think that is good for patient care. We think patients should be treated at home for every condition they can be. That is our goal for Crockett. We have been looking at rural hospitals around the state and we specifically selected Crockett because we feel it fits well with our model.”
The HCHD Board President was next to speak and she remarked, “We have worked hard to get to where we are now and it’s been exciting. I am proud to introduce Timberlands Healthcare to our community.”
Blackwell added, “Healthcare access and a robust healthcare organization are important factors when businesses are seeking new locations. In addition, retirees are more likely to stay in a rural community with a hospital. Data has shown retirees substantially impact a community. So, if a hospital is doing well, the community is doing well. Timberlands Healthcare is investing in our community, our people and our future.”
She was followed by Little River Healthcare CEO Jeff Madison. The CEO praised the efforts of Blackwell and the HCHD Board of Directors in bringing the partnership to fruition and said, “It is a true honor to be involved with creating a direct pathway for this hospital as it moves into the future. This is not something we take lightly. It is something we are very proud of and we feel very strongly that we will be able to partner effectively with the HCHD Board, the community and the staff. The future for this hospital is really, really exciting.”
Following the CEO’s remarks, the ceremony moved outside to the front of the building where the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce had set up a ribbon cutting ceremony signifying the official opening of Timberlands Healthcare.
Once the ribbon had been cut, the attendees ventured to the entryway of the hospital campus as the new signage was unveiled, formally changing the name of the hospital from Houston County Medical Center to Timberlands Healthcare.
According to the hospital’s website, “At Timberlands Hospital our commitment is to provide quality healthcare from our family to yours. Timberlands Hospital is located in Crockett, Texas, and proudly serves Houston County and the surrounding area. We are a 25-bed hospital operated by Timberlands Healthcare and supported by a Board of Directors who are deeply committed to the hospital’s future, its success and most importantly, its patients. We offer an array of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services, as well as 24-hour emergency care in our Level IV trauma center. In addition, the Timberlands Clinic, which is conveniently adjoined to the hospital, provides easy access to primary care.”
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at [email protected]