Lincoln Health Medical Center highlights upgrades since Huntsville Hospital partnership

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reports
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT

Lincoln Co., Tn. (WAFF) - The Lincoln Health Medical Center is celebrating its one-year anniversary since partnering with Huntsville Hospital and Director Mary Beth Seals believes the timing is perfect.

“This merger was a saving grace for us,” said Seals. “They came in and took over when we needed them most.”

Seals said the merger garnered several improvements over the past year including the purchase of a nuclear medicine camera and more staffing across the board to help with patient care. She said the number of vacant positions was slashed from 90 before the merger, down to now 50. Another added benefit is new construction to the main facility’s exterior to add new paint and renovating of the Patrick Rehab and Wellness Center which was at risk of closing in prior years.

“It is so important for a community of this size to have a hospital that they can turn to,” said Seals. “You see so many small rural health organizations that are closing, you know, whether that’s due to financial restraints, or just the fact that they’re, they’re not used anymore if people are going to the bigger and better organizations.”

Emergency Department Director Matt Ulrich said the merger also helps keep people local when tragedy strikes.

“They’re not having to travel to Nashville, and we’re just blessed to have the resources that Huntsville Hospital gives us at our fingertips,” said Ulrich.

One of the resources includes the ability to transfer a patient to Huntsville Hospital in case more intensive care is needed.

He said the merger also allowed more telehealth, which allows staff to care for more patients.

Ulrich said his time working at Huntsville Hospital prior to heading back home to Lincoln Health makes him confident in future success.

“In the larger facilities, they have so many resources and this may be a small hospital, but we don’t have to think small. We can think big,” said Ulrich.

This is only the first of 40 years for the partnership. Seals said the facility is expected to fully integrate within the Huntsville Hospital network in the coming years for more advanced data sharing.

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