Celebrating 50 years. A look inside Citizens Baptist Medical Center

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Citizens Hospital
Teamwork is a cornerstone of the Brookwood Baptist Health system. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

If you’ve lived in the Birmingham metro for a while now, access to quality healthcare may be something you’ve started to take for granted. Residents of rural areas in our state sometimes have a much different experience. We got an insider’s look at Citizens Baptist Medical Center, who has been serving its community for 50 years.

50 Years of Community

Citizens Hospital
Quality healthcare begins with quality care. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Citizens Baptist Medical Center (Citizens Baptist) is located in Talladega, Ala.—about one hour east of Birmingham. The hospital was actually founded in the 1920s, but in 1966, the original building was in disrepair.

The local community saw the need for a renovation and decided to do something about it. They banded together, got federal grants and collected money from locals residents and businesses.

Upon completion of the new hospital, there was a brief time period where both structures stood side by side. Photo via Citizens Baptist Medical Center on Facebook

This massive effort ended in success in 1968 when they broke ground on the hospital building that stands today. Doors opened in 1970, and this March the community will be celebrating 50 years of service.

Citizens Baptist’s week-long celebration in March will recognize the effort of the residents who assisted in creating the new hospital, as well as all the wonderful work that has been done there since its founding. Want to join in on the fun? One night will be open to the public:

  • Thursday, March 12
  • 4:30PM to 6:30PM
  • Citizens Baptist Medical Center Banquet Room
  • 604 Stone Ave. Talladega, AL 35160
  • RSVP: Lucretia.Pope@bhsala.com

Why Rural Healthcare Matters

Citizens Hospital
We didn’t experience one dull moment with this crew. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Limited access to great healthcare can be a huge barrier to a high quality of life in rural areas. Not only can it be an inconvenience to travel an hour or more for your doctor’s appointment—it can be the difference in life and death in an emergency situation.

Whether it’s an accident or a medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, minutes matter.

Frank Thomas
CEO Frank Thomas. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

“When you have a community that doesn’t have this kind of healthcare… some people may not have the ability to drive 25 or 50 miles. It’s important that they have that care close by.

Also, it’s important for economic growth. If you don’t have a hospital in the community, it’s difficult to recruit industry—which is a big deal as well.”

Frank Thomas, CEO, Citizens Baptist Medical Center

A Network of Service

Citizens Hospital
Physical therapy plays an important role in all kinds of recoveries. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Citizens Baptist Medical Center is one of five acute care hospitals that fall under the larger umbrella of Brookwood Baptist Health. With roots extending nearly a century, the network’s community of care has provided accessible, high-quality healthcare to central Alabama for generations.

Citizens Baptist CEO Frank Thomas noted that being a part of this larger network allows a small rural hospital to have support and resources they wouldn’t have otherwise.

When it comes to patients who may need a more rare type of test or surgery, it’s much more efficient to refer and transfer within the Brookwood Baptist Health system.

“We transfer quite a few patients every month… As a smaller hospital, there’s things we just don’t do.

When you know you have the folks at Princeton, Brookwood, etc. where we have an array of specialties, we have the ability to send patients to those hospitals to get that very specialized care they need.”

Frank Thomas, CEO, Citizens Baptist Medical Center

It Takes a Village

Citizens Hospital
Every job in a hospital is so important—and tends to be done with a smile at Citizens Baptist. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

We’ve all heard that term when it comes to raising children, and in many cases, Citizens Baptist has always been in the care of the local community. It would be quite the challenge for one to survive without the other.

You already heard the story of how local residents came together to build Citizens Baptist—and the hospital continues to repay that debt decades later, providing the following:

  • Approx. 250 jobs
  • $16.2 million in salaries & benefits
  • Almost $70 million in total economic impact—which is a huge chunk of change for a town with just over 15,000 residents
50 years of bringing joy to the community. Photo via Citizens Baptist Medical Center on Facebook

Out of those 250 jobs, only a small percentage are doctors. It takes all kinds of positions to run a hospital—administrators, nurses, technicians, therapists, environmental services and a whole lot more.

Team members doing these jobs with pride and dedication have ensured the success of Citizens Baptist Medical Center for the last 50 years in its current location. If what we saw when we visited was any indication, they’ll carry the hospital for another 50 as well.

Congratulations on half a century, Citizens Baptist! If you want to keep up with the celebrations, like them on Facebook and get all the updates.

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  • A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.