HAWKINSVILLE, Georgia - Today, Georgia health officials are celebrating the men and women who bring health to rural communities for the second annual Rural Health Day.
Dr. Mark Senger is no stranger to the big city. He got his medical degree at Emory University in Atlanta.
"Only about 10% of physicians practice in rural areas where a significant part of the population at least the medicare and medicaid live in that area," says Dr. Senger.
As part of a government program, his schooling was paid for in exchange for a four year commitment at a rural health care facility. He chose Taylor Regional Hospital. Six years later he's still there.
"Most of our patients if you asked them, they would say they're part of the family," says Senger.
A family that's well taken care of according to staff and patients I spoke with. Dr. Paul Mathieu says the goal is to deliver the same quality of care as bigger facilities. with a personal touch.
"Being able to triage and understanding what they need and don't need," says Mathieu.
Taylor Regional boasts a multi-million dollar radiology facility, and state-of-the art physical therapy and cardiac rehabilitation centers.
If the specialized doctors and staff can't get you what you need, they'll get you to the people who can, but nurse practitioner Kim Johnson says a big challenge is getting patients in.
"Convincing people that this is as high quality of care as in an urban area. Bigger's not always better," says Johnson.
Margaret Fralick uses the wellness facility on the grounds. She says the warm environment is worth the drive from Perry.
"The people here are just so friendly. It doesn't matter whether or not you are a physical therapy patient," says Fralick.
At the heart of this hospital, is a team committed to caring for the community.