Effingham Health in Springfield GA expands services

Effingham Health in Springfield GA expands services


When she started as CEO of Effingham Hospital in Springfield five years ago, Fran Witt got some less than encouraging feedback.

“I remember when I first started, I was receiving emails on the website that (said) ‘I wouldn’t come to that hospital’ and ‘I’m bypassing the hospital.’

Not anymore.

Over the last few years, the nonprofit hospital system, now called Effingham Health, has added sophistication to its care with advancements like robotic assisted surgery, enhanced cancer care and a pediatrics group that does outreach into local schools.

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Effingham Health CEO Fran Witt

Instead of disparaging emails, Witt and the hospital are getting national recognition. The latest award came from Modern Healthcare magazine which named Witt, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, as one of the 50 most influential clinical executives in the nation.

“Now it’s turned around significantly,” said Witt, who has a doctorate of nursing practice and also earned an MBA.

To punctuate the turnaround, Effingham Health celebrated its rebranding last week with the unveiling of a new logo. With more than a hundred employees and guests gathered in a tent on the hospital’s front lawn, Witt explained the new logo’s significance.

“Today’s modern healthcare systems not only care for the sick and the injured, it is also a business model where the patient experience, you the consumer, is the priority,” she said. “Expectations are to be proactive, and partner with you, the community to improve your lifestyle, which translates to improving your health for the communities that we serve. Modern healthcare branding needs to reflect that change.” 

The three stacked curves can be interpreted as water, waves or wings, she said. 

“Its organic shape represents life,” Witt told the crowd.

Effingham Health CEO Fran Witt shows off the new logo.

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Witt’s well aware of the stereotype of a rural hospital: “Dying on the vine, no new resources, no equipment,” she said.

And she credits her management team for dodging the traps that have led to the closure of 136 rural hospitals nationwide since 2010.  

Effingham Health's new logo

“But we have a team of C suite executive level leadership that when I say skill set, when I say experience, we come to the table,” she said. “And it’s ‘what do you want? What does it cost? What’s the pro forma? And where’s the data to support the need?’ It’s not ‘I got a good idea. So let’s go buy it.'”

Case in point: The DaVinci Robotic Surgery.  

“We brought this in a couple of years ago,” said Chief of Staff Dr. Alexander Wynn. “Now to date, we’ve done over 700 robotic procedures at this hospital.” 

Wynn, who’s been at the hospital for seven years, credits the purchase of the robotic system with keeping those patients in the community for care rather than traveling to Savannah.

Mary Landers is the environment and health reporter at the Savannah Morning News. Contact her at 912-655-8295. Twitter: @MaryLandersSMN


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