Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 05:00 PM
Happy Anniversary MMCN!
One of the biggest impacts on a community is the health of its hospital. In the late 1980s, the Marshall County Health Care. Authority made the difficult decision to close aging hospital facilities in Arab and Guntersville replacing them with a modern facility in Scant City.
The new facility, now known as Marshall Medical Center North, turned 30 years old on January 13.
While the facility has grown and evolved over the decades, its mission has remained the same – to provide local residents with excellent medical care close to home. That it has done, along with much more. Now employing nearly 600 people, (over 1,500 systemwide) with a staff of 175 doctors, Marshall North is the Arab Chamber of Commerce 2020 Industry of the Year.
“The Board of Directors focuses on industries which have made great strides in contributing to the betterment of the Arab community by providing excellent service in their field,” said Brooke Hemphill, Chamber president. “Marshall Medical Center North has been an institution in providing excellent medical care to the citizens of Arab and the surrounding areas for 30 years. It is their commitment to patient care and dedication to providing quality healthcare that makes it an honor to present the 2020 Industry of the Year Award to Marshall Medical Center North.”
The significance of that honor and the 30-year anniversary is not lost on the hospital’s CEO, who has been at its helm since before the ribbon was cut.
“We understand the important role the Medical Center plays in providing healthcare for the community, but sometimes take for granted the economic impact of the organization including hundreds of jobs for local residents,” Gore said. “In addition to providing many jobs, it serves as a training ground for medical students and nurses, and even for high school students considering a career in healthcare.”
Gore cited a large number of physicians who have returned to the area to practice as an indication of an attractive community we enjoy and the resources that are available at Marshall Medical Centers.
“Spend any time in the hospital lobby and it becomes clear the hospital is somewhat of a social hub as well, especially for older folks. They visit their doctor or take an exercise class at the Wellness Center then get a hot breakfast or lunch in the cafeteria, alongside their friends and neighbors. Giving a sense of purpose to more than 50 volunteers is also no small thing. Basically, Marshall North has grown into an integral part of this community, and is positioned to continue serving in that role for many more years to come.”
That sentiment is shared by Cheryl Hays, who came to Marshall North in 1999 as Chief Operating Officer, then served as Administrator until last year when she was named COO of Marshall Health Systems.
"The relationships formed with patients, patient family members and hospital staff always mean the most," she said. "Despite tremendous growth in volume and services and state-of-the-art equipment – what is remembered is how you impacted lives personally. There are many, many wonderful stories that could be told – and that is the legacy we hope to have after the next 30 years as well."
How it began
Construction was completed on the new hospital in 1990 thanks to a $16,790,000 bond issue. It opened its doors on Jan. 13, 1990, with 44 adult patients and two newborns transferred from the old facilities to the new one. The move itself was relatively quick, starting at 7 am and finishing at 10:40 am. Staff members were able to accomplish the relocation thanks to eight ambulances that transported one patient every five minutes.
Once in, physicians didn’t waste any time celebrating. Three surgeries were completed on moving day. A gall bladder was removed, a baby was delivered by caesarean section and a hip fracture was repaired.
The first two patients arrived simultaneously. Both happened to be young boys coming to the hospital from opposite directions. They were Jason Jones, 10, transferred from Guntersville, and B.J. Dickson, 5, transferred from Arab. Gore, a 30-year-old hospital CEO, manned the wheelchair for Jason while L.C. Couch, then chairman of the hospital board, rolled in B.J.
30 years of growth
Three decades later, Marshall Medical North is a 90-bed acute care facility standing as a landmark on Alabama Highway 69 between the three-story Medical Plaza building on one side and numerous doctors’ offices on the other. Marshall North Wellness, built in 1995 as TherapyPlus, anchors the North corner of the campus where it serves 2,400 members each month.
The hospital’s name was formally changed in 1997 from the Guntersville-Arab Medical Center to Marshall Medical Center North when the Marshall County Health Care Authority created Marshall Health System. It owns North and its sister hospital, Marshall South in Boaz. The facilities are voluntarily accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
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