West Georgia Health will celebrate its 75th anniversary of continuous service to the people of Troup County and surrounding counties on August 15.
To celebrate with the community, West Georgia Health will host a free outdoor concert, “Picnic with the Pops,” with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra at the Callaway Clock Tower lawn Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. The Callaway Clock Tower is located at the corner of Fourth and Murphy Avenues.
“It’s our birthday, but it’s like our gift to the community,” said Jan Nichols, director of marketing and public relations. “We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to come and celebrate with us.”
Picnic setup begins at 6 p.m. and music will start at 7 p.m. Those who plan to picnic are asked to bring their own food and drink. In the event of heavy rain, the concert will be moved to the Callaway Auditorium to begin at 7:30 p.m. A limited number of tables for 8 are available for $200 and can be reserved by calling (706) 845-3600.
In 1937, City-County Hospital, a 65-bed inpatient facility, was heralded throughout the state and region for its modern facilities and new equipment to provide quality health care. Many changes in the practice of health care, as well as to the hospital facility occurred in the decades that followed. City-County Hospital later became West Georgia Medical Center, and then West Georgia Health System evolved into what is now West Georgia Health.
“We’ve grown to be so much more than a hospital,” Nichols said.
Over the years, the Board of Trustees at West Georgia Health has allowed the hospital to change with the times to keep its health care delivery in a competitive posture with the addition of a range of services to the community including home health, hospice, occupational medicine and others.
Among the first five percent of U.S. hospitals to implement the electronic health record, West Georgia Health has kept up with the technological advances of the times. In 2009, The Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic acquired the Varian Clinac iX Linear accelerator, which makes use of the sophisticated treatment techniques of IMRT (intensity-modulated radiation therapy) and IGRT (image-guided radiation therapy), delivering the most accurate treatments possible without harming healthy surrounding tissue.
“I think that says a lot about the forward thinking of our leaders,” Nichols said. “We are proud of where we came from, but we aren’t resting on our laurels. We are planning for the future.”
West Georgia Health offers other cutting-edge services like interventional cardiology. In 2006, the hospital began participation in the Atlantic Cardiovascular-Patient Outcomes Research Team (C-PORT) clinical trial. This study allowed WGH to perform cardiac stents and angioplasty procedures to determine whether outcomes are comparable regardless of the availability of on-site open heart services. Because of the favorable findings in this research study, WGH now offers these interventional cardiology services on a permanent basis.
In June 2010, West Georgia Health opened the new 140,000 square-foot South Tower. This state-of-the-art facility includes a 24-bed Intensive Care Unit; a new Heart Clinic offering diagnostic testing, interventional cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation; a 33,000 square-foot emergency department; a Level II nursery and 10 Labor-Delivery-Recovery suites to welcome the newest members of Troup County and west Georgia.
More recent advances at West Georgia Health include the addition of the Women’s Health Center at West Georgia Health as well as West Georgia Physicians, a physicians group which offers primary and selected specialty care including: internal medicine, family medicine, cardiovascular care, pulmonology, surgery, urology, bariatrics and occupational medicine.
“This town has health care services you don’t typically see in a town this size,” Nichols said. “There is a larger medical staff and facility than you’d expect, and we look forward to the next 75 years.”
Below is an abbreviated version of West Georgia Health’s historical timeline.
August 15, 1937 – City-County Hospital opens with 65 beds to serve the community of LaGrange. The project was funded by the City of LaGrange, Troup County, the Callaway Foundation, and U.S. federal funding through a Hill-Burton grant.
1938 – The City-County Hospital Cancer Clinic was established, with Dr. Enoch Callaway, Jr. serving as the Clinic’s director.
1949 – City-County Hospital completes a 70-bed expansion project; bringing the total bed count to 135.
1958 – City-County Hospital adds two wings and 75 beds to its facility, expanding the hospital’s bed size to 210.
1972 – Georgia Heart Clinic, Inc. opens.
1974 – The City-County Hospital building erected in 1937 is torn down, and a new six-story patient tower is built in its place. The building project adds 66 beds, brings the total number of acute care beds to 276.
1975 – To reflect the facility’s role as a regional medical center, the Board of Trustees changes the name, City-County Hospital, to West Georgia Medical Center.
The Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic, Inc. is dedicated.
1976 – The Georgia Heart Clinic, Inc. becomes West Georgia Medical Center’s Department of Cardiovascular Medicine.
1977 – The Medical Park Foundation’s physician office complex begins construction to provide space for physician offices.
1978 – West Georgia Medical Center Home Care, which now serves patients in Troup, Harris, Heard and Meriwether counties, opens.
1979 – An eight-station chronic renal dialysis unit opens in Lee’s Crossing Shopping Center, and moves to the Medical Park the next year, expanding to 13 stations. Over the years West Georgia Dialysis moved to other sites, ultimately locating in a 19,000 square foot building housing 32 stations in the LaGrange Industrial Park.
1980 – Florence Hand Home, a 150-bed, long-term care facility, opens. Combined with the 276 acute care beds, the total number of beds for the health system is 426.
1981 – West Georgia Medical Center leases the Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic, Inc., which becomes the medical center’s Department of Oncology.
1982 − West Georgia Medical Center begins offering hospice care for people with terminal illnesses. Now known as West Georgia Hospice, this division serves patients in Troup, Coweta, Harris, Heard and Meriwether counties.
1985 – Medicare designates West Georgia Medical Center as a rural referral center.
1996 – Hospice LaGrange, a 16-bed, inpatient hospice facility, opens to offer hospice care to terminally ill people who are unable to receive such care within their own homes.
To reflect West Georgia Medical Center’s expanding role as an integrated health care delivery system, the WGMC Board of Trustees votes to change the name to West Georgia Health System, Inc.
1998 – West Georgia Health System purchases and begins extensive renovations to the 116-bed Royal Elaine Nursing Home on Hogansville Road. The new name for the facility is now Twin Fountains Home.
2000 – West Georgia Health System opens Vernon Woods Retirement Community. The first community of its kind in LaGrange, Vernon Woods has 50 independent living apartments and 42 assisted living apartments.
2006 –West Georgia Health begins participation in the Atlantic Cardiovascular-Patient Outcomes Research Team (C-PORT) clinical trial. This study allows WGH to perform cardiac stents and angioplasty procedures to determine whether outcomes are comparable regardless of the availability of on-site open heart services. Because of the favorable findings in this research study, WGH now offers these interventional cardiology services on a permanent basis.
2008 – West Georgia Health was the first hospital in the U.S. to launch the advanced health information technology system, MEDITECH 6.0. version, making it among the first 5 percent of U.S. hospitals to implement the electronic health record. This centralized database of patient medical information enables this health system to automate many of its clinical, financial and administrative functions, and the system’s web-based access also enables physicians to review data remotely from their office or home.
West Georgia Health System launches a new branding initiative and is now called West Georgia Health.
2009 – West Georgia Worx, an occupational medicine clinic, opens in the LaGrange Industrial Park to serve area businesses and industries by offering a variety of services including pre-employment physicals, immunizations, drug screens and treatment of work-related injuries, among others.
The Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic at West Georgia Health adds the latest radiation therapy technology to help local cancer patients fight their disease. The Varian® iX linear accelerator incorporates two new radiation therapy techniques – intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) – that deliver the most accurate treatments possible without harming healthy surrounding tissue.
2010 − The new 140,000 square-foot South Tower opens. This state-of-the-art facility includes a 24-bed Intensive Care Unit; a new Heart Clinic offering diagnostic testing; interventional cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation; a 33,000 square-foot emergency department; a Level II nursery and 10 Labor-Delivery-Recovery suites to welcome the newest members of Troup County and West Georgia.
The West Georgia Health Women’s Health Center opens in a beautifully-renovated building to consolidate women’s imaging services to include the latest technology in digital mammography, mammography- or ultrasound-guided biopsy, steotactic breast biopsy, breast needle localization, bone density studies and ultrasound imaging.
2011 – West Georgia Health creates an affiliated professional services organization, West Georgia Physicians, to offer both primary and selected specialty care to patients throughout West Georgia and East Alabama. With offices conveniently located in LaGrange and Hogansville, our physicians specialize in internal medicine, family medicine, cardiovascular care, pulmonology, surgery, urology and occupational medicine.
2012 – Davita, a leading provider of kidney care in the United States, acquires West Georgia Dialysis to continue offering specialized chronic renal dialysis services to patients of West Georgia and East Alabama.
August 17, 2012 – West Georgia Health celebrates its 75th anniversary by hosting a community celebration – a free Picnic with the Pops event featuring the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra with Music Director and Conductor Patricio Cobos – at the Callaway Clock Tower.