The Great Health Divide: Southeast Health’s efforts in bridging the gap

Southeast Health’s efforts in bridging the gap in the Southeastern region
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 6:57 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Southeast Health is considered a rural hospital, caring for patients that do not have access to services at even more rural hospitals. We share their efforts to bridge the great health divide.

“This hospital’s mission is about serving the community,” Dr. George Narby, chief medical officer at Southeast Health, said.

When Dr. Narby says community, he means the Wiregrass.

“Two counties in Georgia, three counties in Florida and all of the surrounding counties here in Alabama surrounding Dothan,” Dr. Narby said.

Southeast Health is a regional hospital with a mission to bridge the gap in the great health divide since establishing in 1957.

“We have a local board of directors, they are local business leaders appointed to a board, they are not compensated for their work and the focus of everyone here from the board of directors on down, is this community,” Dr. Narby said.

Although it is a rural hospital, they remain available to other, smaller, rural hospitals as they offer more services to care for patients.

“When we think about those specialty services that may be available here at Southeast that may not be available out in those rural counties, we’re talking about things like cancer care, cardiothoracic surgery and neurosurgery,” Dr. Narby said.

They offer services like comprehensive stroke center, neonatal intensive care and a level two trauma center.

Although Southeast Health has many things urban hospitals have, there are a few things the hospital cannot manage.

“I think one would be a burn center, we do not have a burn unit here, and we do not have a level three or level four neonatal intensive care and so those extremely prematurity events would need to get help elsewhere,” Dr. Narby said.

Dr. Narby said access to care is a complex issue and a concern. He said one of Alabama’s main worries is access to care and the number of primary care physicians. Southeast Health addressed this 10 years ago by establishing the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“With one of the final purposes being to train doctors here in Alabama, to return to Alabama and provide care to our community and this state,” Dr. Narby said. “Everything we think about we are working towards helping Alabama get better, get healthy and improve their access to care.”

Dr. Narby said the hospital strives to focus on caring for the community.

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