Decatur County General Hospital

About Us

History of Decatur County General Hospital

Decatur County General Hospital, owned and operated by Decatur County was built in 1963. It is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Decatur County Court. The first members were: Joe Gregory, Sr., Chairman; H.L. Townsend, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer; Fred Alexander, Vice-Chairman; Kenneth Graves; Bob White; Delmar Ballinger; and George White.

The 22-bed hospital accepted the first patient on December 8, 1963.

Dr. Paul Ford Teague was the only full-time physician on staff until he was joined by Dr. Robert M. Fisher in July 1964. The present medical staff consists of: Dr. Thomas Hamilton, Chief of Staff; Dr. John Phillips, Dr. Ramesh Reddy; Dr. William Jennings; Dr. Joseph Hames; Dr. Vikki Murphree,Vice Chief of Staff; Dr. Joseph Montgomery; Dr. Charles Alderson; Dr. Patrick Murphy; and Dr. Wayne Lennington.

When the hospital opened in 1963, Jack Jordan was the Administrator. The nursing staff consisted of one R.N., who was the Director of Nursing; 5 LPN's; 3nursing assistants; an orderly and an OR Technician. Lab and x-ray were staffed by one person.

In April of 1967 the Decatur County Court authorized bonds in the amount of $124,000 to build an addition to bring the number of beds to 37. The addition also included new Administrative and Business offices, a conference and inservice room, new lobby and waiting room, storage rooms and a doctor's lounge.

In 1971 one of the 4-bed rooms was converted to a 3-bed Intensive Care Unit with 2 of the beds equipped with bedside cardiac monitors. Nurses were sent to Nashville and Memphis to learn to recognize and treat life-threatening cardiac rhythms. In 1978 a 6-bed intensive care unit was completed to bring the number of beds to 40.

As medical care became more complex and licensing laws changed the administration recognized the need to recruit more RN's to staff and supervise patient care. A nursing scholarship was begun in 1972 to assist with tuition each year for hospital employees who were interested in becoming RN's and who planned to work at Decatur County General upon graduation.

As the hospital continued to grow new departments have been added or expanded. Decatur County Emergency Medical Service was added in 1973 and has continually been upgraded to being a Grade A Service staffed by Paramedics. Lab and x-ray have been moved into new and larger areas. A CT scanner, Mammography and Ultra-sound services have been added. Home Health services were added in 1992. New outpatient services include Urology, Ophthalmology, Cardiology, Orthopedics, Gastroenterology, and Podiatry. The intensive care unit was changed to an Out-Patient Surgery area in 2000 and a new Surgery Unit was Built.

Decatur County General Hospital currently employs 147 with an annual payroll of $4.7 million making it one of the largest employers in Decatur County. It has an annual operating budget of over $9.5 million. The total assets of Decatur County General Hospital are approximately $7.1 million.

Community service is of major importance to the administration of the hospital. It is a Partner in Education with Decatur County Middle School and provides many services to the school. Since 1984 an annual Health Fair has been held by the hospital and provides free health screening. A blood chemistry test is provided for a nominal fee. Between 300-400 people take advantage of the fair each year. A lighted walking track and landscaped park with several picnic tables were built on property behind the hospital building in 1998. In 2006 a chapel was opened with money donated by a patient in honor of Dr. Vikki Murphree.

Larry N. Lindsey served as the Administrator of the hospital  from 1972 to 2007. John Crawford held the position as interim Administrator from April 2007 until December 2007.  Norene Pumphrey was named Administrator in January 2008. The current Board of Trustees include:  Dale Scott, Secretary; Mary Ivey, Delmar Ballinger, Collins Pratt, Michael Ivey, Jon Ayers and J. Wayne Stanfill.

In 1996 the hospital administration decided to become Joint Commission accredited. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations evaluates the Quality and Safety of care for healthcare entities. To maintain and earn accreditation, organizations must have an extensive on-site review by a team of JCAHO professionals at least once every three years. Decatur County General Hospital became accredited in 1998.

The hospital is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Decatur County Health Council/Delta Grant Initiative. It holds Community Blood drives for Lifeline Blood Services. The employees, as a hospital group, volunteer for Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) and for Decatur County World's Largest Coon Hunt for St. Jude, and participate in many other service entities. The laboratory is licensed by the State of Tennessee, CLIA, and has been accredited by the College Of American Pathologists since 1997.

Decatur County General Hospital employees have been striving to meet the healthcare needs of our community for over 40 years. Please contact us at (731) 847-3031 if we can be of service to you or your family.



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