SGMC sees the growth of its network of physicians | Local News


VALDOSTA – Unparalleled access to quality health care is a top priority for South Georgia Medical Center, hospital officials said in a statement.

Since its official organization in 2020, the SGMC network of physicians has more than doubled its number of physicians and tripled its number of specialties.

According to Jim Zacharias, vice president of network development at SGMC, this is the result of enhanced partnerships with exceptional long-time community physicians and the recruitment of the best physicians to join the region.

A physician needs analysis conducted in 2017 showed that 28% of adults in the SGMC service area did not have a regular physician. That same report showed that the percentage of adults with high blood pressure, high body mass index and diagnosed with diabetes in the region eclipsed both the state average and the national average, officials said. of the hospital.

In response to the results, SGMC established a strong network of physicians, which grew to include seven primary care centers in Lowndes, Berrien and Lanier counties with 17 physicians specializing in family medicine or internal medicine.

“More primary care providers means less wait times for new patient appointments and more general availability for patients to get appropriate counseling to manage their health and well-being,” he said. Zacharias said.

In addition, the network includes more than 40 specialists to ensure that patients do not have to leave the area for treatment.

Zacharias said traveling for medical care is expensive and emotionally and physically taxing for patients and their families. By having a wide range of specialists in the field, SGMC offers improved collaboration between primary care physicians and specialists, leading to better patient outcomes.

Another important part of the equation that is expected to impact access to physicians for decades to come is SGMC’s partnership with Mercer University School of Medicine to launch an internal medicine residency program, officials said. of the hospital. SGMC is set to have residents on its campus as of January.

At full capacity in 2024, 24 doctors will complete residency training at the SGMC at some point, hospital officials said. In addition to inpatient coverage, the residency program will include a continuity clinic. This serves as a low cost primary care clinic and is an integral part of internal medicine training as it allows residents to learn how to manage common and complicated outpatient conditions and follow patients longitudinally over time.

“We are delighted to see this type of growth in physician recruitment. These doctors can choose to go anywhere and they have chosen SGMC, ”said Dr. Brian Dawson, Chief Medical Officer of SGMC. “The culture and energy behind the residency program for current physicians, applicants and staff is invigorating. It is truly a pivotal moment in our history.

For a complete list of SGMC providers, visit

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