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RMC partners with Piedmont Healthcare
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Rockdale Medical Center and Piedmont Healthcare announced a new partnership that will provide RMC patients access to expanded services and bring resources and expertise from Piedmont’s physicians and staff. This innovative affiliation was celebrated Thursday in a ceremony at RMC marking the hospital’s 60th anniversary.

“We have partnered with Piedmont Healthcare in a clinical affiliation that’s just the beginning to many great things to come,” said RMC CEO Deborah Armstrong.

For the Rockdale County community and those in adjacent counties, the affiliation between Piedmont Healthcare and RMC expands access to a wide range of Piedmont’s highly specialized services such as heart valve repair, organ transplants and brain tumor treatment.

The partnership has already begun yielding benefits by providing consulting for RMC’s state application to provide interventional cardiac services, such as angioplasties and stents, at the hospital.

Piedmont Clinic CEO Dr. Robert Brownsworth said, “We were delighted to help Deborah and her team in the application for advancing cardiac care with the PCI program which was just announced last week. We’re going to be assisting with the development of that program with Rockdale Medical Center ... This is the first time we’ve done this in the metropolitan medical market.”

Piedmont’s heart program has been named best in Atlanta for overall cardiac care, cardiac surgery and coronary intervention by HealthGrades for three consecutive years.

“Clinical affiliations between community hospitals and regional tertiary care providers are becoming a best practice across the country for improving regional healthcare delivery systems and extending collaboration of quality care,” said Piedmont’s Chief Operating Officer Greg Hurst. “Rockdale Medical Center’s location and engaged medical staff complement Piedmont owned and affiliated hospitals and physician practices located south and east of Atlanta.”
As part of the affiliation, physicians from the Rockdale medical staff can apply for membership in the Piedmont Clinic, a network of 1,100 physicians.

“Rockdale Medical Center has a commitment to quality care, and we benefit from our physicians’ membership in the Piedmont Clinic, a clinically integrated network in which quality, service, effectiveness and safety metrics are used to ensure continuous improvements in patient care,” said Lisa Gillespie, MD, chief medical officer, Rockdale Medical Center.

In today’s healthcare market, partnerships are key, said Armstrong.

“Integration of physicians, hospitals and health systems is fundamental to enhancing quality of care and realizing efficiencies in today’s complicated healthcare environment,” said Armstrong. “Our new affiliation with Piedmont Healthcare will allow our organizations to combine our strengths to enhance quality, improve healthcare efficiency and coordination as well as offer comprehensive clinical services to more patients throughout the region.”

David Dill, President of the central group for LifePoint Hospitals, echoed this point at the ceremony.

“The only way we’re successful as an organization is growing services in a high quality fashion close to home. When LifePoint looks for partners, there has to be a common vision between the two parties. In this vision, it is strengthening services, keeping patients close to home. Not moving patients away, not having patients go somewhere else, keeping services close to home tied in with a strong partner with a strong commitment... to high quality care,” Dill said.

“We have found that partner in Piedmont, I know Piedmont has found that partner with us.”

LifePoint has had experience forming affiliations with healthcare systems among its 65 hospitals, such as with the Duke University Healthcare system.

Since its formation in 1992, the Piedmont Clinic has been a leader in the development of aligned care models.
Piedmont Healthcare also announced separately Thursday that it is forming a partnership with the MD Anderson Cancer Center Network for its Atlanta and Fayette hospitals. Those hospitals are among only 13 in the country that are part of the MD Anderson Cancer Network.

During Thursday’s ceremony, RMC’s six decades of operation and service to the community was noted with a county commission declaration, presented by Commission Chairman Richard Oden. It was also celebrated with a State House and State Senate resolution presented by State Representatives Tonya Anderson, Pam Dickerson, Dee Dawkns-Haigler, Dale Rutledge, Pam Stephenson and Sen. Rick Jeffares commending the hospital.

Rockdale Medical Center is a 138-bed acute-care hospital fully accredited by The Joint Commission. Rockdale Medical Center was purchased in 2009 by LifePoint Hospitals, which operates more than 65 hospital campuses in 21 states, many of them community hospitals.

Since the purchase of RMC five years ago, LifePoint has invested about $34 million in capital, exceeding the amount that had been promised over a seven to 10 year period when the purchase agreement was made, according to LifePoint President David Dill. The company has also paid more than $2 million in property taxes to local government coffers since RMC moved from non-profit to for-profit status.

Piedmont Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization, is the parent company of five hospitals, two employed physician groups, and Piedmont Healthcare Foundation, the philanthropic entity for private fundraising initiatives. Piedmont Healthcare also includes the Piedmont Clinic, a physician network with more than 1,000 members. For more information about Piedmont Healthcare, visit