Phoebe Sumter celebrates 10th Anniversary

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

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Americus, Ga. –  When Phoebe Sumter Medical Center opened its doors on December 16, 2011, it signified a milestone for the community and how far the recovery had come since the tornado in 2007. “Move-in day was a celebration. At the end of moving day, we were so tired, but we didn’t care because we were so happy we were in our new hospital,” said Susan Bruns, Interim CEO & Chief Nursing Officer, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

On the night of March 1, 2007, a devastating and deadly tornado roared through Americus. Sumter Regional Hospital took a direct hit. However, thanks to the quick action of the hospital staff, no patients or workers were injured and throughout the night, all patients were safely evacuated to other hospitals in the region.

“That was a day to remember for sure. When the evening was over, it was like 5 a.m., we all just gathered around, we prayed, and we knew we had to serve the community,” added Bruns.

Initially, the Sumter Regional team operated a makeshift ER out of a church before moving into tents, which was later followed by the construction of a temporary hospital. With the community not having the resources to build a new hospital from the ground up, Mayor Barry Blount, the Americus Sumter County Hospital Authority and other community leaders decided to partner with Phoebe to build Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

“It’s been a great partnership, and we’re very blessed to have had it. Cutting the ribbon, that signified almost the complete recovery of our community from the tornado in ’07.  It was a long journey from March of ’07 to December of 2011, but we weathered the storm, and the community came together and worked hard, and this is one of the fruits of our labor,” said Mayor Blount.

Over the past 10 years, Phoebe Sumter has provided care during more than 750,000 patient visits. The facility was LEED Certified for environmental efficiency and was named the nation’s most beautiful hospital by Soliant Health.

“I think for a town our size to have a hospital the size that it is, as modern as it is, it is really unbelievable.  It still shocks me sometimes, coming in the doors.  We have physicians come from out of town to look to come to work here, and they are always impressed by the facilities that we have in our community,” Dr. Kristin Tott, Phoebe General Surgeon

Phoebe Sumter has expanded the medical community in Sumter County and improved access to care in surrounding areas, opening new primary care clinics in Ellaville and Buena Vista and a specialty clinic in Montezuma.  It began a comprehensive weight loss program and earned accreditation as a Bariatric Center of Excellence.  Additionally, Phoebe Sumter earned designation as a Remote Stroke Treatment Center and was named an Obstetrics Center of Distinction by Blue Cross.

“We really do strive to keep people here at home, not going out to the big cities. Our quality of care here is excellent, and we’re just so glad that people here do choose to come and be cared for by us,” added Dr. Tott.

Phoebe Sumter continues to stay connected to the community – holding health fairs and cancer awareness events, providing free mammograms, and building a public walking trail. In 2019, Phoebe Sumter began the Healthy Sumter initiative with other partners to open community gardens and realize a collective vision of Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies and a Healthy Community.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Phoebe Sumter has provided mass testing and vaccination services, administered lifesaving monoclonal antibody therapy for free and has cared for more than 250 COVID patients in the hospital.

“We’re extremely proud to have the hospital here because it does contribute to our growth and economic development in Sumter County as well as this region,” said Mayor Blount.

Phoebe Sumter looks forward to the next 10 years as they continue to grow, enhance services and live up to Phoebe’s vision to make every life they touch, better.