News & Announcements

Phoebe Makes Progress Toward Trauma Center Designation


Albany, Ga. – Phoebe has made substantial progress in its work to earn Level II Trauma Center designation from the state for its main emergency center.  Phoebe’s trauma team is wrapping up a 12-month data collection process that started last September and is an important step that must be completed before applying for the state designation.  Over the first ten months of the data collection, the emergency center handled 780 trauma cases, including 275 that were serious enough to be included in a trauma registry required as part of the application process.

“We are providing quality care for a significant number of trauma patients now, and we know trauma center designation will help us expand and better standardize that care.  We look forward to submitting a formal application to the state and earning Level II designation next year,” said Leon Dent, MD, Phoebe Medical Director of Trauma Services.

Dr. Dent gave an update on the project to the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors Wednesday.  “Our trauma team has completed a detailed gap analysis to identify additional staffing and resources we will need to earn and maintain trauma center designation, and we are actively recruiting for the remaining few positions we need to fill,” Dr. Dent said. 

Once Phoebe’s application is submitted, the Georgia State Trauma Coordinator and representatives from the Georgia Office of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma will make site visits before deciding whether to grant the designation.  “We are excited to provide this lifesaving service to our region of the state, and our board members and hospital leaders are committed to making whatever investments are necessary to successfully complete this project,” said Joe Austin, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer.

Austin also provided board members with an update on the hospital’s COVID-19 response and additions to the hospital’s COVID-19 testing capacity.  “Hospitalizations throughout our region have come down in the last couple of weeks, but we have remained fairly steady.  Our average daily census for COVID-19 patients in Albany was 53 in August.  We would certainly like to see that number go down, but it is substantially lower than our high of 122 in April,” Austin said.

Dr. Doug Patten, Associate Dean of the Southwest Campus of the Medical College of Georgia, thanked the board for Phoebe’s strong partnership with MCG, especially through COVID-19.  “While we shifted to virtual learning when the pandemic hit, everyone at Phoebe found a way to accommodate our students back into the clinical environment as soon as possible.  Through that we learned a lot about the effectiveness of virtual learning and developed new ways to augment clinical training with simulation,” Dr. Patten said.  “We were able to set up an entirely new pandemic medicine elective in about 10 days, and for the first time our students are partnering with physicians at Phoebe on research projects.  They’re digging into COVID-19 data now to better understand the pandemic and its impact in southwest Georgia.”

During the height of the pandemic, MCG students at the Southwest campus made hundreds of masks that they donated to Phoebe and to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany.  Dr. Patten also highlighted some of their pre-COVID community engagement activities such as a mentoring partnership the medical students initiated with the 4C Academy.

MCG’s Southwest Clinical Campus is based at Phoebe and was formally established in 2005 as the first campus in the college’s statewide network.  Third and fourth year students work with more than 140 physicians to complete clinical rotations in multiple specialties.