Rockdale Medical Center began more than a half century ago with the dream of having a local hospital to meet the health needs of the community instead of traveling into Atlanta for medical care and the hospital continues today to provide for the health needs of the community.
In the early 1950s, the county set aside funds from taxes collected on the recently legalized sales of beer, a controversial measure, to go towards building a new hospital. Calloway Mills stepped up and pledged $40,000 if the community could match those funds, and would eventually donate the land the hospital was built upon. The community responded in earnest with a fundraising campaign, collecting change, holding bake sales and families from all over the county and city of Conyers contributed what they could.
The ten bed hospital opened in 1954, and today it has grown into a state-of-the-art 138-bed acute care hospital, with an emergency room, birth center, and many other specialties and services. Its outpatient diagnostic services will soon be renovated and consolidated to meet patient needs as well.
"We've got some great plans and great things going on," said CEO Bryan Dearing. "We try to be the hospital that the community looks to first."
More investments are underway after the sale of Rockdale Medical Center to LifePoint Hospitals for $84 million, with a promise of $30 million capital investment, completed last year.
The hospital's volume of visits has grown tremendously over the past decade, with 42,167 emergency room visits, 117,277 outpatient visits, 37,289 inpatient visits and 2,408 births in 2009.
The hospital is also a significant employer in the county, with 1,150 employees. The employees are what make the difference at the hospital, according to Marianne Freeman, vice president of HR and Administration. "Everyone cares and reaches out for each other," she said.
Dearing agreed. "So many of the staff are part of the community. When they're taking care of patients, they're taking care of friends and family. That's what it feels like," he said.
In celebration of National Hospital Week, May 9-15, and Nurse's Week, May 6-12, Rockdale Medical Center will honor its Nurse of the Year on Monday, May 10, and its Employee of the Year on Wednesday, May 12. The hospital will also hold its annual Rockdale Idol Competition on Friday, May 14, at 11 a.m. in the East Tower Classroom.
For more information, visit www.rockdalemedicalcenter.org or stop by the hospital at 1412 Milstead Ave, Conyers.