Madison Hospital is celebrating ten years of helping people in the Madison area sustain a healthier lifestyle – The Madison Record

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Madison Hospital President Mary Lynne Wright holding one of the hospital’s newborns this year.

MADISON – In 2012, the Madison community celebrated the opening of its own hospital. In 2022, residents now are grateful that Madison Hospital is marking its tenth anniversary in helping people sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Moving from her job at Huntsville Hospital, Mary Lynne Wright has served as President of Madison Hospital since October 2010. “I started then to be involved in the final stages of all design and operational decisions,” Wright said.
In February 2011, Betty Madison was the first person hired from outside the Huntsville Hospital system. Madison works as Executive Assistant to the President.

As the hospital neared opening, Wright was confident in the team they had assembled and felt strongly that the right people were in the right place.

“We had practiced and rehearsed numerous scenarios, so I felt we were ready,” Wright said. “However, it was a massive undertaking, and I was anxious but mainly I was excited about the great opportunity we had to bring health care to this area.”

After years of civic debate and negotiations, Madison Hospital opened on February 28, 2012. “We opened with the Emergency Department, Operating Room, Food Services, Imaging, Respiratory Therapy, Plant Ops, two Nursing Units and Intensive Care Unit,” Wright said.

The first person admitted for inpatient care was on February 28, 2012. Soon after, Madison Hospital’s first surgery was on March 1, 2012.

“We opened the Labor and Delivery Department in June 2012. Our first baby was born on June 6, 2012,” Wright said.

The hospital building encompasses 242,000 square feet. “We opened 45 of our 90 licensed beds,” Wright said. “Then, we utilized 75 percent of available square footage. Now, we utilize 100 percent.”

Over the years, the hospital has seen impressive expansion and improvement:
• Emergency Department — Renovated four times; added eight beds.
• ICU — Expanded and increased capacity from four to eight beds.
• Outpatient Endoscopy Center — Opened on January 8, 2019.
• Operating Room or OR — Renovated to add two OR suites in 2019.
• Patient rooms — Opened all existing rooms in 2017.
• Imaging — Added second CT and MRI in last five years.
• Vein Center — Opened in 2014.

Originally, the hospital employed 350 people. Employment now stands at 718, which includes full-time, part-time and occasional workers. Currently, approximately 80 physicians affiliated with the hospital represent 15 different specialties. “On any given day, we have 30 or so physicians in the facility,” Wright said.

“The physical building is holding up well. We have a great team in Plant Operations that is very responsive to repairs and maintenance,” Wright said. “However, just as important is everyone that works here is accountable for reporting issues immediately.”

With the onslaught of COVID-19, the hospital has had “a very high census, averaging around 10 more patients per day than pre-COVID,” Wright said.

“The staff here has been incredible during the pandemic. They have been stretched to the max and overwhelmed dealing with this deadly pandemic,” Wright said. “They worry not only about their patients but also worry if they are transmitting it to their families.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and its variants have been a psychological challenge to everyone at Madison Hospital. “Some (employees) made the decision to leave health care completely. Some of those have returned; however, most have not,” Wright said.

“We are in a health care crisis — we have approximately 40 open positions and then another 30 or so out . . . due to Covid,” Wright said. “The nursing shortage in this county is real and getting more challenging daily.”

“Thinking about the next five to 10 years, the hospital needs to expand the diagnostic and treatment tower, which includes the Emergency Department, Surgery, Labor & Delivery, cardiology and Imaging services,” Wright said. “This area continues to grow at a rapid pace. We have to grow along with it.”

After that expansion, Madison Hospital will need to add a new bed tower, allowing bed count to expand to about 200. “We certainly need to continue to focus on staffing for the future. We can have the best building and equipment; however, our team of employees makes the difference,” Wright said.

How do patients evaluate the care that they have received at Madison Hospital? “The comments I receive are overwhelmingly positive. They talk about the facility, the cleanliness and the ease of wayfinding; however, their focus is always on the staff,” Wright said.

Former patients refer to and compliment employees by name. “They ask for (employees) to be recognized — which we always do. When I meet with new employees at hospital orientation, I talk about how great the facility is . . . from the landscaping to the water wall in the atrium, but I remind them that’s just bricks and mortar. THEY are what makes a difference,” Wright said.

“Do we get it right every single time? . . . No. Do we learn from any complaint we get? . . . Yes. We try hard to listen and implement service recovery options when appropriate,” Wright said.

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