Hospital partnership to improve response times for Ga. county EMS

The hospital will provide space for overnight accommodations, supply storage and ambulance parking for EMS providers


Katie Nussbaum
Savannah Morning News, Ga.

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. — Pooler and West Chatham residents will soon see improved emergency response times thanks to a partnership between St. Joseph's/Candler and Chatham Emergency Services, officials announced Wednesday, Jan. 22.

A newly renovated space at the St. Joseph's/Candler Urgent Care in Pooler will provide overnight accommodations for first responders along with storage for supplies and restroom facilities. Outside, along with space for ambulance parking, electrical work was updated to provide electrical outlets for the ambulances.

Chatham Emergency Services is partnering with St. Joseph's/Candler to set up a new space for EMS providers and ambulances that is expected to improve emergency response times in the county. (Photo/Chatham Emergency Services Facebook)
Chatham Emergency Services is partnering with St. Joseph's/Candler to set up a new space for EMS providers and ambulances that is expected to improve emergency response times in the county. (Photo/Chatham Emergency Services Facebook)

"It's another phase in improving access for the people who live here because as we all know, when you call an ambulance, seconds are important, and this is a super location because they can get out to the (Interstate 16) side or they can get to the (Interstate 95) side and then get the patient into whatever hospital is appropriate for them," said Paul Hinchey, president and CEO of St. Joseph's/Candler.

Chatham Emergency Services housed an ambulance at a nearby fire station for many years, but eventually had to move to another location. Later they were forced to move again and had been searching for a new location for about two years, said Chatham Emergency Services CEO Chuck Kearns.

"We've had the area surrounded: We've had an ambulance in Port Wentworth, one in Bloomingdale, one in Garden City, and we keep one posted at (State Route) 204 and (Interstate) 95, but we wanted to get back into Pooler," Kearns said.

"This is really a great day for Chatham Emergency Services and we can't thank St. Joe's enough."

Pooler Mayor Rebecca Benton said the new partnership will help keep residents and those who work in and visit the city safer.

"I am so happy to add this service for the safety of our people and those who work in this city," she said.

Hinchey said St. Joseph's/Candler remains committed to the city and the new partnership is another chapter in Pooler's medical expansion. St. Joseph's/Candler opened a micro-hospital facility on a 27-acre campus on Pooler Parkway, near Interstate 16, last March.

"We are not fair weather friends, we are here for the long term. Whatever you need from the health care perspective, all you have to do is call us and we'll be here faster than the EMS," he said.

The campus offers patients a variety of services, including outpatient surgery, advanced imaging services, endoscopies, outpatient physical therapy, blood draws, wellness services, medication management and urgent care.

The Pooler campus has exceeded all expectations, Hinchey said.

"For what this population needs in their day-to-day life and what they're concerned about, it's right in their backyard and so we'll be frankly planning for phase two sooner than we thought," he said.

The current building is about 83,000 square feet, but once all the phases are complete the facility will be 250,000 square feet, Hinchey said.

"We've already sharpened our pencils and looked at our capital budgets and said, how can we grow with the community? So we're thrilled and I think they're thrilled, too."

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©2020 the Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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