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Phoebe Sumter Uses Georgia HEART Contributions To Purchase New Surgical Robot

Americus, GA | April 18, 2023 – Surgeons at Phoebe Sumter will soon start using a da Vinci surgical system purchased with contributions made to the hospital through the Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment) Hospital Program.

The robotic system allows surgeons to perform minimally-invasive procedures, operating through one or a few small incisions.  The instruments, which physicians guide in real-time through a console, provide a greater range of motion than the human hand and deliver highly-magnified, 3-D, high-definition views of the surgical area.

“This is a wonderful new tool for our surgical teams.  It will allow us to safely and efficiently perform intricate procedures, and we are excited to bring this technology to our patients here in Americus,” said Jeremy Joyner, MD, a bariatric and general surgeon at Phoebe Sumter.

Physicians are undergoing training now and are scheduled to start using the da Vinci system in early May.  Phoebe Sumter surgeons will initially use the system for weight loss and reflux surgeries, as well as other procedures such as hernia, gallbladder and colon surgeries.  It will also be available to independent surgeons on the Phoebe Sumter medical staff, and Dr. Joyner says it will allow the hospital to expand surgical services.

“The system will help us more quickly incorporate new techniques that are developed, and it will give surgeons the capability to perform some procedures, such as certain urological and gynecological surgeries, that we don’t currently offer,” Dr. Joyner said.  “We’ll also be able to expand our bariatric services because we will no longer need two surgeons for each procedure.”

One example of the safety benefits of the system is a feature that highlights blood flow and bile ducts so surgeons can ensure they’re getting appropriate blood flow for bowel connections and avoiding bile duct injuries during gallbladder surgeries.

“Patient safety must be our top priority every day,” said Phoebe Sumter CEO Carlyle Walton.  “When we have a chance to make an investment that enhances safety and also expands the services we can provide to people in and around Sumter County, we will follow through with that investment every time,” he added.

Since the rural hospital tax credit program began in 2017, Phoebe Sumter has received more than $5 million in Georgia HEART contributions.  The hospital has used those funds to purchase new technology and equipment, as well as on new services such as a cardiac rehabilitation gym.

“We are fortunate to have so many generous people in our community who want to ensure that Phoebe Sumter is growing and advancing.  We thank our Georgia HEART supporters, and we hope they are proud that they are helping Phoebe Sumter continue to provide excellent healthcare right here at home,” Walton said.

The tax credit program allows taxpayers to direct their tax dollars to the qualifying rural hospital of their choice.  When you give through Georgia HEART, you get a state tax credit for the full amount of your contribution up to a certain limit.  That limit is $5,000 for an individual filer and $10,000 for a married couple filing jointly.  Businesses can also participate and may be eligible to contribute up to 75% of their Georgia tax liability.  There is an annual statewide tax credit limit, so you must apply to contribute.

“Tax filing and tax refund season is a great time for taxpayers to look into the Georgia HEART program.  You can plan ahead for next year by taking advantage of the great tax benefits the program offers, and we encourage you to do that now before contributions for 2023 close out,” said Katherine Council, Phoebe Sumter Foundation Director.

You can learn more about Georgia’s rural hospital tax credit and fill out an application to contribute at