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Health officials eager for new affiliation
Dr. Eric Stout, Southeast Georgia Health System's chief of pediatrics, says patients are already excited about Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville bringing its expertise to Brunswick and the Golden Isles.

The health system announced an affiliation with Wolfson Oct. 31.

"They are excited. There's a lot of buzz and chatter about it coming here," he said. "So many patients here are going to benefit from this. The convenience is extraordinary."

Wolfson Children's Hospital will bring a new pediatrics and rehabilitation clinic to the vacant third floor of the new Medical Plaza at 3025 Shrine Road, across the street from the Brunswick hospital.

Wolfson entered into a multi-year lease with the health system and will complete interior construction on the 6,000-square-feet of space by May 2013.

Along with having the convenience closer to home, Stout says the inclusion of 32 pediatric subspecialties will greatly benefit the community.

"I think they'll see the rehab services and then the cardiology unit first," Stout said. "Having these facilities available will be a big help. They are two of the most widely needed subspecialties."

Right now, if a cardiology consultation is needed, the child is commonly referred to either Jacksonville or Savannah, Stout said.

"Anything from heart disease or heart conditions to heart murmurs that have presented themselves later in life would need to be evaluated," Stout said.

Another important subspecialty that pediatric physicians are in need of is behavioral.

"Behavioral pediatrics are going to be very widely used. There's a desperate need and a great demand for them," Stout said.

To be able to provide care for autism patients and other behavioral conditions will become a great value to the area.

"There's a nationwide shortage of behavioral pediatrics," Stout said. "There's a tremendous drought in developmental and behavioral service."

The inclusion of subspecialists aren't only to benefit the families. Stout said that having them close by and available will help improve the quality of care in the area.

"All of the pediatrics here work together and call each other (to talk)," Stout said. "We learn from one another and having these subspecialists here will help create a more intense academic environment."

By augmenting their ability to refer patients to a specialty close by, physicians will get to know more of the nuts and bolts of a subspecialty, Stout said.

"I can go with that patient across the street and see why they make the decisions they do," Stout said.

That convenience extends to the family, the most important part of the affiliation.

"It's often the case that a parent might need to take a child to see multiple specialists," Stout said.

"We'll have an advantage to that"

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