In celebration of Alabama’s 200th year of statehood, Gov. Kay Ivey is touring communities throughout the state.
On Tuesday, the tour brought her through Randolph County and the halls of Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama in Wedowee — the only hospital so far featured in the governor’s tour.
“We have a long relationship with Randolph County, going back 15 years to our partnership with the rural clinic in Woodland,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System. “Now, we have this wonderful hospital that is a model for rural health care in Alabama. This facility is the product of the partnership between Tanner and the people of Randolph County. We have a long-term focus on improving health care in this area.”
The governor was greeted at the facility by State Sen. Randy Price (R-Opelika) and Wedowee Mayor Tim Coe, as well as Doyle Allen, chairman of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners and Bill Caypless, PA, a member of Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama’s board. Several members of the leadership team from Tanner Health System also were in attendance.
Gov. Ivey heard about the unique partnership that made building a new hospital in Wedowee possible. In August 2015, Randolph County voters turned out for a special referendum on a 1% sales tax to fund a replacement facility for the former Wedowee Hospital. The referendum to build a new hospital in Randolph County received wide support among those voters, with 86 percent of voters supporting the new hospital.
The critical access hospital opened for patient care in November 2017.
“We’ve enjoyed an incredible relationship with the citizens of this community,” said Daniel Jackson, chairman of the board for Tanner. “From day one — from the vote to fund this hospital to the ribbon cutting to now — working with the people of this community has been a delight. They understand and value their relationship with Tanner, and we deeply appreciate our relationship with them.”
The governor toured the hospital’s emergency department, surgical services unit, diagnostic imaging unit, inpatient nursing unit and rehabilitation facilities. Hospital volunteers also snagged her for a quick tour of their gift shop, which the governor happily obliged.
“This is really a wonderful facility,” the governor told the staff. Following her tour, the governor said, “While visiting Randolph County, I was glad to have the opportunity to meet the caring staff and get a look inside Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama. This facility is important for the local residents, and I know these locals are proud of it.”
Along the way, Gov. Ivey presented coins to hospital staff to commemorate Alabama’s bicentennial and heard about the importance of finding creative new ways to expand health care and opportunity in Alabama’s rural communities.
“Good schools and access to good health care are not just essential to the quality of life, but also essential to economic development,” said Howard. “They’re necessary for businesses and industries to expand and grow. The people of Randolph County have shown that they realize that.”
Following her tour, the governor departed the hospital for a special lunch event at Wedowee Maine South in Lineville, with engagements planned later in the day in Clay County.
More information about Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama can be found online at tanner.org/eastalabama.