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Henry Medical celebrates 30 years in community

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Medical professionals in Henry County marked a milestone Thursday, one which they say can be attributed to exceptional patient care, and the dedication of those who work in the field, locally.

Henry Medical Center (HMC) has been serving local residents for 30 years. Charles Scott has been the chief executive officer of the hospital for the last two years. He says a major factor in HMC's success has been the support it has received from people who live in, and around, Henry.

"We have a strong bond with the people in our community," says Scott. "That has nurtured our hospital, and enabled us to grow rather dramatically over the last 30 years."

The hospital, which opened in 1979 with 100 beds, now has 215, and a number of other offerings, which have grown in recent years. Like many facilities in the health-care field, Scott acknowledges, the HMC is "facing challenges" in the current economic environment. Still, he says he is "excited" about its future, because of a mixture of new services, and an expansion of existing programs.

Adam Stanfield, associate director for the Henry Medical Center Foundation, agrees with Scott's outlook for the future. "Now, more than ever, Henry Medical Center is a state-of-the-art hospital that is providing immense services for the residents of Henry County," says Stanfield. "We do that by investing in a lot of technologies that typically aren't found in rural hospitals. I think that really sets us apart from a lot of other facilities, and supports our mission for becoming the premier medical facility on the southside of Atlanta."

A number of employees celebrated the hospital's anniversary during a reception in the HMC cafeteria. One of those workers was Leann Miller, a safety manager who has worked at the hospital since before it opened.

Miller, who oversees switchboard operations at the facility, was the third employee hired in 1978 to work at HMC. She says she has witnessed notable changes in the area since that time.

"When I began at Henry Medical Center, the only thing on Hudson Bridge Road at the time was the Safari Inn," she says. "It was just woods from [Ga. Highway] all the way up to Jodeco Road. As the hospital progressed, doctors' offices were built around it, and other industries came in. So, basically, the hospital drew in other businesses."

Miller says the expansion of offerings at HMC over the years has enabled more Henry residents to receive the medical care they need without crossing county lines. She says she is "very proud" of the hospital, and the relationships she has formed with long-time co-workers. "It's been like a family to me this whole time," she says. "We love where we work, and we love who we work with."

Another employee who has worked at HMC since its inception, is 55-year-old, respiratory therapist, Ken Boyd. He says the aspect of his job he enjoys most is being able to interact with people, whose parents and grandparents he first met when they were patients at the hospital.

Boyd was working at Clayton General Hospital when he was recommended to be director of respiratory therapy at HMC 30 years ago. However, he says he gladly left his director's position 10 years ago, in order to resume a more hands-on role with his patients.

"I was director for 20 years, and, finally, had enough of management," says Boyd. "I've always had a love for patient care, so I decided to step down and be a caregiver again. For the last 10 years, that's what I've been doing. And I love what I'm doing."