Spotlight on Baldwin County: Health Care

Five medical facilities serve residents and visitors of Baldwin County

The North Baldwin Infirmary campus.

North Baldwin Infirmary

North Baldwin Infirmary (NBI), an affiliate of Infirmary Health, is a 78-bed hospital in Bay Minette and has 276 employees.

For two consecutive years, Infirmary Health — the largest private employer in the region with some 6,300 employees — was named by Forbes Magazine and Statista as Alabama’s top health care system employer.

Through a partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medicine and Sanderling Renal Services, North Baldwin Infirmary’s nephrology telemedicine program provides bedside dialysis to patients. Also, with UAB Medicine support, NBI offers critical care telemedicine to its patients.

The facility has recently added an open MRI and a 64-slice CT system that can capture coronary complications with higher accuracy and in a less invasive manner. In 2022, the North Baldwin Infirmary Foundation purchased a 3D mammography and Dexa Bone Density unit.

NBI also has a senior behavioral health unit, an inpatient program for those 55-plus who are experiencing behavioral or mental changes.

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The hospital has a 13-bed emergency department, including three cardiac exam rooms to monitor potential heart attack patients and ensure prompt intervention.

NBI’s surgical department includes preoperative and postoperative care areas and two gastroenterology rooms for endoscopies and colonoscopies.

The Birth Center offers services from childbirth classes through labor, delivery and recovery, as well as a full-time lactation specialist.

Oncology infusion services, through Infirmary Cancer Care, an affiliate of the UAB O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, are also provided at NBI’s campus in Bay Minette.

Thomas Hospital

Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, an affiliate of Infirmary Health, has 189 beds and 1,224 employees. It offers a variety of services, including robotics, orthopedic, open-heart surgery, labor and delivery, pediatrics and outpatient therapy.

It also offers outpatient imaging services at Thomas Medical Center in Daphne and emergency/imaging services at Thomas Hospital Emergency in Malbis. Infirmary Health also operates two ambulatory surgery centers along the Eastern Shore: Daphne Surgery Center and Fairhope Surgery Center.

Recent awards include Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement and Maternity Care. Most notably, Thomas Hospital earned national recognition from U.S. News & World Report as a high-performing hospital for colon cancer surgery, knee replacement, heart attack and maternity care — the only hospital in Alabama to earn the maternity designation for this grading period. Enhancing the services available in the Birth Center is a team of neonatologists who oversee the hospital’s Level II Special Care Nursery.

In January 2024, the hospital received the Women’s Choice Award for America’s Best Hospitals for heart care, mammogram imaging, minimally invasive surgery, obstetrics, orthopedics and patient safety. Thomas Hospital is the only hospital in Baldwin County to offer inpatient pediatric services, through its team of pediatric hospitalists who are on call to serve the needs of the county’s youngest patients.

Thomas remains the only Commission on Cancer Accredited Hospital in Baldwin County. Recently, Infirmary Health and UAB Health System announced a partnership for oncology services and now offer those services on Thomas Hospital’s campus. Thomas Hospital also is the only hospital in Baldwin County with an open-heart surgery program and operates the fourth largest open-heart surgery program in Alabama based on volume.

In February 2024, the hospital completed a $900,000 expansion and renovation of the William E. Steber Jr. Cardiovascular Lab, providing expanded technology and more space. The project was funded almost entirely by the Thomas Hospital Foundation.

This summer, Thomas Hospital plans to break ground on a new tower, expanding the capacity of the hospital by 25 additional beds. It also recently added five new surgical intensive care unit rooms.

And the Thomas Hospital Internal Medicine Residency Program is now in its fourth year. The three-year program has graduated seven residents who are now full-time physicians at Thomas Hospital and several others who have gone on to pursue fellowships.

A rendering of what South Baldwin Regional Medical Center will look like after the expansion.

South Baldwin Regional Medical Center

South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley is an acute care hospital offering inpatient, emergency, diagnostic and surgical care with more than 1,200 employees and a network of medical clinics. And it’s growing.

Construction is underway to expand and modernize the hospital. Improvements include a total of 200,000 square feet with a new surgical department, a women’s and children’s unit, additional medical/surgical capacity with doubled ICU capacity and space for future growth.

This more than $200 million project is the largest health care development project Baldwin County has seen. The target date for opening the new patient tower is late 2024.

Once the expansion project has been completed, the current hospital will be modernized with a new front entrance, updates to the emergency department and more.

Future plans also include an ambulatory surgery center to be located next to the hospital.

In 2023, South Baldwin Regional Medical Center received an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group and also was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the best hospitals in the state for nurse communication.

Through a relationship with Cardiology Associates, the hospital’s team performs a range of cardiovascular procedures. And a recently launched neuro spine program is the only program of its kind in Baldwin County.

EastPointe Hospital

EastPointe Hospital in Daphne is a part of AltaPointe Health, providing mental health treatment and 24-hour support for adults aged 19 and older. It is the only free-standing adult psychiatric hospital in the Mobile Bay region.

USA Health Mapp Family Campus

Opened in fall 2022 in Fairhope, the 50,000-square-foot USA Health Mapp Family Campus Medical Office Building is home to Baldwin Family Medicine and USA Health specialty care providers including adult and pediatric physicians, with specialists in colorectal surgery, cardiology, urology, orthopedics, digestive health, endocrinology and more. It also includes a demonstration kitchen.

In August 2023, the 24,000-square-foot ambulatory Baldwin County Surgery Center opened on the Mapp Family Campus, featuring six operating rooms and two spaces for procedures. Plans call for surgeons from USA Health and the community to use the facility and its advanced technology.

USA Health also opened an OBGYN/Pediatrics practice at the Eastern Shore Center in Spanish Fort in 2022 and the Mitchell Cancer Institute–Fairhope in 2017. The Mitchell Cancer Institute provides advanced treatments for patients diagnosed with cancer, serving Baldwin County and the Florida panhandle.

This article appears in the May 2024 issue of Business Alabama.

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