Piedmont Newton CEO Dr. Eric Bour is focused on making Newton County’s hospital community-centered through offering luxury benefits to residents right in their own backyard.
“The No. 1 thing that most residents of any community probably want is to not have to travel for health care, whether that’s seeing their primary care doctor or seeing certain specialists, urgent care, quick care or the ability to get to an emergency department quickly or having ambulance services,” he said. “So, the ability for somebody to have that care locally is really kind of how Piedmont views its place in this community and many communities.”
Newton’s hospital has been under the Piedmont brand for just over two years. With that brand comes additional services and partnerships not previously offered by the independent hospital.
“Newton as an independent hospital, like many independent hospitals, really had struggles over the years,” he said. “They don’t have the capacity without a Piedmont or another system behind them for things like access to new equipment, access to all kinds of better pricing – if you’re one versus 10 – and those kinds of things. Those were the biggest changes that came as a result of Piedmont’s brand: the ability to leverage a large patient focused health care system and all that has to offer in a community facility that really the citizens of Newton County deserve.”
With the more recent additions of the Rockdale County and Walton County hospitals under the Piedmont umbrella, Newton County residents will be able to see the continued Piedmont-level of service at whatever local hospital they choose to go to.
“I don’t know that it really will affect Newton County very much other than Walton is a Level 3 trauma center and we do transfer some patients there from Newton County who need trauma care so now they’ll be transferred to a Piedmont facility,” he said. “So, it will be better for those people who are involved in traumatic events that requires them being taken to a trauma center. Of course, the major trauma centers are in Atlanta, but Clearview (now Piedmont Walton Hospital) does function as that Level 3 trauma center. I expect that designation to continue. From a Newton County perspective, anybody who requires being taken to a trauma center will now have the luxury, if you will, of going to a Piedmont facility.”
In addition to the Level 3 trauma center in Walton County, Piedmont also offers ambulance services in Newton County as a way to continue the consistency of care for its patients.
“I mean I live in Newton County, I live in Covington. I think it gives me a level of comfort knowing that if something happens to me, or worse to my wife, that we have Piedmont’s EMS that can respond,” Bour said. “Not because I’m five minutes away but because it is Piedmont’s EMS. So they’ll respond and bring us to a Piedmont facility where I know I’m going to get the care that I need.”
In fact, Bour said if he could play any other role at the hospital for a day it would be hopping on an ambulance for a shift in EMS.
“I just think that’d be so much fun,” he said. “I was actually thinking about that as I was coming back from Fayetteville and one of our Piedmont units was heading into Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta or somewhere in Atlanta and I saw it drive behind me and I thought ‘I really need to schedule some time to run a shift one of those units.’
“I’m a surgeon by training but I’ve never been out on the field in an EMS unit. I’ve done organ harvest for transplant and all kinds of stuff but never done like the sort of stuff an EMS unit does, so I think it would really be kind of cool to do that.”
Piedmont plans to continue to call Newton County home for a long time to come and Bour hopes local residents realize the quality of service offered.
“When you talk about rolling out the red carpet, we want to be the provider that rolls out the red carpet for the citizens of Newton County,” he said. “That’s our role. That’s why I sit on the chamber board. That’s why I go to the community improvement district meetings. We need to make those connection points because the community needs to realize that we’re rolling out the red carpet for them.”