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photo/ Angela Reinhardt Piedmont Mountainside Hospital CEO Denise Ray explains the impact of the new ICU wing and introduces key members of the project team.

New ICU wing open at hospital 

$15.1 million oncology project underway

Piedmont Mountainside Hospital’s new 16-bed ICU wing is complete and opened to patients on May 7.

The $13.6 million project adds 11,000 sq. ft. to the medical facility on Highway 515. The expansion will increase the local hospital’s licensed bed capacity to 76. 

It was a packed house for the ICU ribbon cutting, held Wednesday, May 1 in the new wing. The ceremony was attended by members of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital leadership, doctors, and employees, as well as Piedmont Atlanta leadership, project and construction teams, and local leaders including Jasper Mayor Kirk Raffield and Pickens Chamber President & CEO Amberle Godfrey.

Piedmont Mountainside CEO Denise Ray called the expansion a critical move for the area, as the hospital serves not only Pickens County residents but others as well. She recalled growth at the hospital over the years, back to the most recent large development. 

“Twelve years ago, we were in the process of building a new emergency room and also expanding our operating area for the [Post Anesthesia Care Unit], GI, and then our med surg unit…Twelve years later here we are with the absolutely beautiful expansion.” 

Mayor Raffield briefly discussed the evolution of local hospital care.

“[In] the 1960s…Pickens General Hospital first opened and later transitioned over to Mountainside Medical Center, [then] on May 29, 2003…Piedmont came to Jasper and Piedmont changed Pickens forever,” Raffield said. “You aren’t treating patients, you are treating and caring for people. Those people are our families. Those people are our friends, and you are forever changing lives…you’re saving individuals.”

Chamber CEO Godfrey thanked the hospital for the high quality of care they provide for the community. 

“And it doesn’t stop here in Pickens County,” she said. “It’s regional. It goes everywhere. There are so many people who come here for quality care right in our neighborhood…Everyone works together to provide the care that our community deserves and for that we are grateful.”

Piedmont’s Medical Director Dr. Richard Hedelius came on board in 2019 when there were just six ICU beds, which were overwhelmed during the COVID pandemic, “and here we are finally building a real ICU where we have 16 beds dedicated in one area. We’re trying to live the Piedmont promise… ‘Care closer to home.’ We couldn’t have done this without the community and support of everybody.” 

Dr. Hershel Bhadsavle came to Piedmont Mountainside in 2021 when there were still only six ICU beds and said the expansion will be a game-changer for the community.

“This ICU is going to help take us to the next [level],” he said. “Thank you so much for having the faith in us to help take care of the community. This is a really big step for Mountainside and for Pickens County.” 

Dr. Patrick Battey, Piedmont Mountainside board member and former Piedmont Atlanta CEO, said the local expansion is a part of systemwide growth. He there are seven other bed expansions in the Piedmont system and that volumes are about 20 percent up from before the pandemic.

photo/ Angela Reinhardt
(L-R) Vanessa Moreno, Manager of Respiratory Services at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Lynn Jones, Clinical Manager of ICU at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Richard Hedelius, MD, Pulmonologist/Intensivist and Medical Director of ICU at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Hershel Bhadsavle, MD, Pulmonologist/Intensivist at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Jay Hutchins, Director of Facilities at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Norman Childers, Manager of Facilities and Construction at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Denise Ray, President & Chief Executive Officer at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital and Chief Nursing Executive for Piedmont Healthcare; Patrick Battey, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital; Kirk Raffield, Mayor, City of Jasper; Lindsay Gard, CFO at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Richard Hubbard, Board of Directors Member for Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Jason Smith, Board of Directors Member for Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Chad Case, MD, Chief of Critical Care for Piedmont Healthcare; Moiz Master, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital and Assistant Chief Medical Officer for Piedmont Healthcare; Todd MacQueen, Supervisor of Plant Operations at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; Amberle Godfrey, President & Chief Executive Officer at Pickens County Chamber of Commerce. 

Oncology project construction underway

Work on a $15.1 million project that will add radiation oncology project as a service of Piedmont Mountainside has begun and completion is expected in February 2025.

Piedmont’s CEO told the Progress last year, “The purchase of a linear accelerator (a device used to treat cancer by delivering high-energy x-rays or electrons to the region of the patient’s tumor) and plans for the construction of a radiation oncology facility are underway,” Ray said. “This is so important because there will now be an option, here at home, for quality cancer treatment through Piedmont Oncology.” 

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