Southeastern Regional Medical Center's changing name reflects growing impact on region


LUMBERTON - The rebranding of Southeastern Regional Medical Center and its satellite clinics comes during a period of brisk growth for the health care provider.

On Tuesday, CEO Joann Anderson and Faye Caton, chairwoman of the board of trustees, announced the hospital organization will be known as Southeastern Health starting Jan. 1. The new name is reflective of a growing presence across Robeson County.

"We want to encompass all facets of health care," Caton said. "When you say 'medical center,' it sounds like a hospital, but we are more than that."

Anderson said Southeastern had five affiliated clinics when she arrived as CEO five years ago. Today, there are more than 30, she said.

The clinics, which provide primary and specialty care, are in Lumberton and in the smaller communities in Robeson County. Southeastern also has three clinics in Bladen County and one in Cumberland County.

In June, Southeastern completed a new 11,000-square-foot primary care clinic on Chicken Foot Road in Gray's Creek. It replaces a temporary building that had served the area since April 2010.

The system combined two existing clinics in Red Springs and opened a new 11,500-square-foot facility there under the Southeastern name Aug. 6.

A new urgent care clinic opened July 24 at the Southeastern Health Mall in Lumberton. The Lumberton urgent care joins an existing urgent care in Pembroke that opened three years ago.

A look at a map that includes the latest additions shows that Southeastern has virtually blanketed its major market area. Anderson said the hospital is still considering two or three other areas for clinics, but any decision on those won't be made in the near future.

The satellite clinics give consumers in those areas easier access to medical care, whereas in the past they might have had to travel some distance. The hope, Anderson said, is that easier access will equate to more preventative visits to the doctor and thus fewer trips to the Emergency Department at the medical center in Lumberton.

Keeping people healthy and out of the Emergency Department and, ultimately, of the hospital, is the best way to reduce health care costs, Anderson said.

"It's really about providing the right care at the right location and the right time rather than everyone using the hospital or the Emergency Department," she said.

Southeastern is growing in other ways, too.

In January, the hospital received state approval for an ambulatory surgery center. Officials announced in June that they plan to began work on the first phase of the Southeastern Health Park, which will be located on 26 acres on Dawn Drive.

Ground will broken this fall on a $20.7 million building, which will house, among other things, the surgery center, an orthopedic center, a pain management clinic, outpatient rehabilitation services and retail space.

"It goes back to that basic principle that we want to provide the best possible healthcare for everyone in the county," Caton said. "We want to be in a position to provide for all facets of care."