Surgeon applauds SeHealth’s decision to seek a partner

Via The Robisonian

I have practiced medicine here in Lumberton for 21 years. I moved here shortly after completing my residency and have been proud to call this community home ever since. My wife and I have raised our children here and plan to be here for many more years to come.

When I think about the future of Lumberton, it’s important to me that our community continues to be a great place to live for our families. As a physician, it’s particularly important that my patients and our neighbors always have access to the high-quality health-care services they need right here. That’s why I’m supportive of the proactive step Southeastern Health is taking to explore what could be made possible for the residents of our community through a partnership.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen first-hand how health care has changed and how the speed of change is accelerating. For our community to thrive, it’s important we continue to have a strong, regional medical center here in Lumberton. The hospital is so much more than a health-care provider; it’s also one of our county’s largest employers. The future of our community depends on the success of the hospital.

While the hospital is strong today, the challenges of tomorrow are real and quickly approaching. It will be increasingly important for us to have the services and technology we need right here in our community — especially for our underserved residents and those who don’t have the ability or resources to travel for care. We also need to continue to be able to recruit and retain the next generation of talented physicians and skilled clinicians to Robeson County. Forming a partnership with the right health-care organization — matched with the right resources and expertise — can help ensure we’re always able to care for our own.

I believe these challenges, along with the incredible opportunity ahead to shape the quality of life for years to come, are top of mind for the Southeastern Health board as its trustees consider the future of health care for our community. I know they all have the best interest of the community at heart and are working hard to identify a potential partner who will honor Southeastern Health’s mission and be committed to delivering an exceptional experience for patients and their families.

As my colleagues throughout the country can probably attest, not all communities are as fortunate as we are in Lumberton, where our hospital board is exploring this possibility from a position of strength. Across the nation, it’s becoming more difficult for hospitals to remain independent. Oftentimes, the search for a partner is something communities are forced into. In some cases, communities have endured the reality of having to watch their hospital close. We’re very lucky to be where we are, and we are even luckier to have the time to find the right fit.

Looking ahead, our future is bright. I’m excited for what this process means for my patients, our community, and for each of you and your loved ones. I look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with Southeastern Health and the new partner, if one is selected, to provide our residents with the care and compassion they deserve for many years to come.

David Allen, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon.