‘Golden Care’ talks about ACH’s future

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On June 1, Atmore Community Hospital will officially transition its management from Baptist Health Care to Infirmary Health.

Last Thursday, ACH Administrator Bill Perkins talked with members of the Baptist Health Care’s “Golden Care” monthly meeting group. This group of citizens had been meeting every month, to learn about hospital news and some of the services available.

Thursday’s meeting was the final Golden Care meeting, since May will be hectic as ACH staff work to get the transition process finished. While most of Thursday’s discussion dealt with the future of ACH, Perkins also touched on the hospital’s past.

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Perkins said that ACH moved to its current location in 1967, and has been affiliated with Baptist Health Care since 1995. However, Perkins noted that he has personally been working for Baptist since 1990 — in fact, Thursday was exactly his 25th anniversary with the company, as he started April 16, 1990.

“I’m certainly thankful for everything that Baptist Health Care has done for this hospital and this community,” Perkins said. “It’s kind of bittersweet. We’re moving away from one great community-based organization to another.”

Perkins said that the transition will require several changes at ACH, but most of the services will stay the same. As an example, he noted that the Andrews Institute Rehabilitation physical therapy services would change its name but keep the same staff.

“But all the same people who have been working here all along will remain the same,” he said. “There really won’t be any changes, other than the name.

“The goal is quality, convenient services here in Atmore, so that our folks don’t have to travel out of town to get their health care.”

Perkins introduced Lauren Giddens, an employee in the marketing communications department for Infirmary Health. Giddens told the Golden Care group about some of Infirmary’s plans, including its community involvement.

Giddens noted that the Infirmary Health Foundation has given back more than $28 million to its communities since 1984.

“We are very big on giving back to our communities,” she said.

Giddens also said that Infirmary Health plans to continue to offer similar programs like “Golden Care.”

“We want to continue to provide information to help you meet your health needs,” she said. “We are very excited about this partnership.”

Perkins noted that ACH faces a tough financial future, because more than 70 percent of its revenue base is made up of Medicare and Medicaid customers, and those reimbursement rates are set by the federal and state government. However, he noted that the Infirmary Health partnership might be beneficial, because it is an Alabama company and will be able to exclusively lobby in Montgomery on rural hospitals’ behalf. Baptist Health Care is based in Florida.

Perkins also noted that he hopes the hospital will be able to expand its services and specialists, as a result of the transition to Infirmary Health’s management.

“My goal is to continue to grow our hospital,” he said. “We can’t just cost-cut our way out of this financial situation.”

Perkins also thanked Susan Sheets, the marketing coordinator at Baptist Health Care, who was in attendance. Perkins said that Sheets had been very helpful throughout the years and that he would miss working with her.