Duke University partners with Robeson County hospital

ROBESON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) In any community quality healthcare is a real asset, and in Robeson County when most people think about healthcare, they think about Southeastern Regional Medical Center.

WMBF News Reporter Brandon Herring gives you a look at how the hospital is expanding its services.

Southeastern Regional Medical Center affects a lot of people in Robeson County.

Not only is it one of the largest employers in the area, but the hospital is also creating beneficial partnerships, particularly with Duke University.

That means patients can get services here that previously they would have had to travel outside the area to receive.

"Probably our biggest push over the last couple of years is trying to improve access to care throughout the region," explains David Sumner, Vice President Support Services of SRMC.

Sumner says SRMC has made it easier for people in the area to get the healthcare they need by expanding to nearly 30 primary care clinics across Robeson County, and also Bladen, Cumberland and Scotland counties.

The hospital has also developed a new complex they're calling a medical mall, right beside the Biggs Park Shopping Mall. It holds a surgery group, weightloss center, lab and diabetes care. A pharmacy and urgent care center are soon to come. Anyone who needs those services no longer has to maneuver around the main hospital a few blocks away.

"Primarily for convenience and some of it was also new services," says Sumner concerning the need for the medical mall.

Also in the medical mall are offices for doctors who are part of a partnership with Duke Medicine. They provide care for the heart and the brain and spine. That's care, like open-heart surgery, that people once had to leave the county to get.

"In the past, folks got transferred out for their care and that meant if family members wanted to see them they had to travel, and with the economic status of the county that's hard for a lot of individuals," explains heart surgeon Terry Lowry.

SRMC now has a heart center because of the Duke partnership. Healthgrades recently ranked the program as the best in the state. In addition to adding a new level of service, it's added lots of jobs. For Doctor Lowry it's also meant he can stay near home to practice his specialty.

"I treat patients that I know, and folks [from] families that I've known, and that makes a big difference both for me and for them," admits Lowry.

The hospital is also working on a proposed Ambulatory Surgery Center. That new building is still in the planning stages.

"Kind of a same day surgery center where you come in the morning or afternoon, have your surgery and your loved one drives you home or you drive yourself home," says Sumner. "A lot of those things are done here now and again for convenience and for economics the Ambulatory Surgery Center works best for the consumer and those that use the center."

The staff here at Southeastern Regional Medical Center hopes the new Ambulatory Surgery Center will continue to make a big difference in the health care of Robeson County.

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