A Small Hospital Capable of Big Things

Good things come in small packages. — Aesop

Glenn Gann

May 10, 2021 – The size of something does not always properly indicate its value. This is certainly true when it comes to the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus. Small but mighty, the 40-bed hospital provides a host of services, including emergency care, intensive care, general surgery, cancer diagnosis and treatment, maternity services, orthopaedic and joint replacement surgery, outpatient rehabilitation, and wound care.

Southeast Georgia Health System purchased Gilman Hospital in 1992 and oversaw the construction of the new hospital, now known as the Health System’s Camden Campus. In 2009, it completed an expansion and major renovation of the Camden Campus. In addition to the renovation of approximately 33,000 square feet of the existing facility, the expansion included 90,000 new square feet to allow improved access to care in a comfortable environment.

Since then, the Health System has continued to prove its commitment to providing quality health care to the community. In 2012, a new Cancer Care Center was opened on the Camden Campus, ensuring access to lifesaving cancer care close to home. In 2013, a three-story, 54,000-square-foot Medical Plaza, housing physician offices and outpatient services, was added to the campus. Currently, the plaza is near capacity.

In 2019, the hospital’s breast imaging services were updated with 3D mammography and, in 2020, a new Wound Care Center offering leading-edge technology, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, was opened.

Recently appointed as vice president and administrator of the Camden Campus, Glenn Gann, R.N., MSN, is keeping patients in the forefront. He is committed to making sure the health system continues to provide safe, high-quality, cost-effective, accessible care to meet the needs of the people and communities it serves. This commitment extends to team members as focused efforts are implemented to improve retention as well as promote growth and development.

Looking ahead

One of Gann’s top goals is ensuring patients with complex conditions can stay close to home. “Strategic planning and growing the Camden Campus is our current focus. We look closely at every patient to ensure we can care for them here, in their community hospital. While general medicine is our mainstay, we are treating increasing numbers of surgical and respiratory patients. Our census is growing and physicians feel increasingly comfortable keeping patients here.” The coronavirus accounted for some of the increased patient census. To address the demands of COVID-19, the Health System hired additional critical care providers and agency nurses. The state of Georgia also sent agency nurses for Camden’s COVID-19 patients.

“Critical care providers were brought in to help Dr. Levy, our pulmonologist. Thankfully, our recent, timely investment in advanced pulmonary function testing equipment allowed Dr. Levy to evaluate lung function in patients with COVID-19 and other pulmonary issues, without those patients having to drive to Brunswick or Jacksonville.”

Stroke care has also expanded at the Camden Campus, thanks to the hospital’s Telestroke Program. “Our stroke program demonstrates a commitment to evidence-based care that improves patient outcomes. Anyone presenting with stroke symptoms receives an immediate CT scan upon arriving at our Emergency Care Center,” explains Gann. “We can also administer the tPA clot-busting medication if indicated. By partnering with Baptist Health Jacksonville, we have 24/7 access to a neurologist who performs rapid evaluation and diagnosis of stroke patients to see if they can remain at the Camden Campus or if they need to be transferred to another facility.”

In the orthopaedic arena, Gann notes that the Camden Campus surgeons have had “great success” with the hospital’s new ROSA® Knee System, a robotic surgery system. “We’re producing good knee replacement outcomes and hope to enhance our existing ROSA technology soon so our surgeons can perform hip replacement surgeries.”

Recruitment and retention in nursing and surgical services are additional goals. By bringing in additional nursing staff, Gann hopes the established nurses will feel supported and less overwhelmed.

To give nursing staff more say in their workplace, hospital leaders invited them to participate in its shared governance committee. The Camden Campus also partners with local colleges to provide training and employment opportunities for new nurses and allied health professionals.

While COVID-19 continues to dominate his thoughts, Gann feels supported by hospital leadership. “Our CEO, Mike Scherneck, has shined through this crisis. His concern for everyone really comes through.”

According to Gann, hospital leaders gleaned valuable lessons from the pandemic. “We realized the importance of having more negative pressure isolation rooms for patients with COVID-19. As a whole, our team members have a greater awareness of social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks. I believe that will continue in the post-pandemic era.” He credits last year’s mild flu season to these health safety practices.

As he strengthens internal operations, Gann emphasizes that the majority of his goals center on patient safety. “We’ve done such a good job with keeping infection rates low. Two examples stand out: As of April 5, 2021, we’ve gone 218 days with no urinary catheter infections and 976 days with no central line infections. That is a result of our team members providing safe, quality care to our patients.”
Even as Gann enjoys those successes, he always sees room for improvement. As part of the continuous improvement efforts, nursing is focused on proactive methods to prevent patient falls through purposeful rounding and improved communication.

Last year, the Camden Campus upgraded to 3D mammography and opened a new Wound Care Center, thanks to funding from the Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment) Hospital Program. Through HEART, taxpayers can allocate a portion of their state tax bill to support rural hospitals. While this year’s round of funding has not been allocated, Gann would like to expand ROSA technology and upgrade operating rooms and equipment. To learn more about the Georgia HEART program, visit sghs.org/ga-tax-credit or georgiaheart.org.

Despite the demands and challenges of the pandemic, Gann says he will continue to seek ways to expand health care services in Camden and neighboring counties. “Patients are central to everything we do, and we want to offer them as many health care services as possible, while maintaining quality and safety.”