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The dawn of a new decade is upon us, and as we close the chapter of a dynamic year, we look ahead with anticipation. We will forge new relationships and grow services available in Tallapoosa County. 

On Jan. 1, Russell Medical entered into a management agreement and became a member of the UAB Health System, following action by the respective boards of both organizations in November 2019.

Russell Medical joins other Alabama hospitals as part of the UAB Health System, which includes UAB Hospital, UAB Highlands Hospital, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital; management relationships at Medical West, Baptist Health Montgomery, John Paul Jones, LV Stabler and Bryan W. Whitfield hospitals; along with affiliate relationships with three additional hospitals in the state.

“Russell Medical and the UAB Health System have a lot to offer each other,” said Will Ferniany, Ph.D., CEO of the UAB Health System. “Both parties bring strengths and assets that will improve health care in the Lake Martin region.”

The UAB Health System now has representation on the Russell Medical Board of Directors and will work in collaboration with the directors and the existing management team. Under the agreement, UABHS will assist in many of the business aspects of hospital operations, including supply chain logistics, revenue cycle management and compliance issues. UAB also will help with clinical resources – such as assistance in physician recruiting and staffing.

Russell Medical has been a strategic affiliate of UAB for years, participating in cancer and telemedicine networks, along with outreach in a number of medical specialties, including cardiovascular care, urology and surgery.

“We have a long history with UAB that has served this hospital and the residents of Alexander City and the surrounding area well,” said Jim Peace, CEO of Russell Medical. “The new management agreement only strengthens that relationship and will help ensure Russell continues to deliver the exceptional medical care that our community expects.” 

Hugh Neighbors III, chair of the Russell Medical Board of Directors, said he believes the relationship with UAB will enable RM to leverage its programs, services and resources to assist area residents in achieving their highest levels of health and wellness.

“As a part of UAB Health System, we can pool resources and work together to adapt to the continuously changing healthcare environment as a part of their network of facilities,” said Neighbors. “We are a cornerstone healthcare provider for the Lake Martin area, and we feel strongly that this relationship will enable us to provide enhanced services with more cost-efficient operations.”

Russell Medical will continue to be owned by its parent company, Medical Park Inc., and Russell Medical will employ its staff, with no anticipated changes in benefits or salaries. Physicians seeing patients at Russell Medical will continue to do so.

“As the flagship health enterprise in the state, UABHS has significant resources and expertise that will be available to RM,” said Don Lilly, UABHS senior vice president for network development. “We will now be able to offer the knowledge, insights and support of our institution to RM in what is truly a win-win for both hospitals, but more importantly, a win for the people of Alexander City, Tallapoosa County and across the state of Alabama who rely on us.”

In other news, Russell Medical welcomes pediatrician Dr. Chante’ Ruffin to the medical staff. Dr. Ruffin has opened Heritage Pediatrics in Suite 108 of the Professional Building. She will host an open house on Jan. 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and welcome the public to visit the office and meet the staff.  

Once again, Total Fitness will serve as a weigh-in site for Scale Back Alabama, a free statewide weight-loss campaign designed to encourage Alabamians to get healthy, lose weight and have fun while doing it. Weigh-in week is Jan. 20 to 24. There is no annual contract for gym membership, and varied exercise classes and personal training sessions are offered. For more information, contact Cara Tidwell, fitness coordinator, at 256 -329-7624. 

~ Susan Foy is the marketing director for Russell Medical.