Hinesville and Savannah are served within Veterans Integrated Service Network 7 — the VA Southeast Network, with the nearest major medical centers in Augusta, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, both about two hours from Fort Stewart. VISN 7 serves the third-largest veteran population in the U.S. and encompasses an area containing VA medical centers and outpatient clinics in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The closest community outpatient clinic is in Savannah.
VA Southeast Network
3700 Crestwood Parkway, Suite 500
Duluth, GA 30096 678-924-5700
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
109 Bee St.
Charleston, SC 29401 843-577-5011
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center consists of one primary, secondary and tertiary care facility in Charleston, serving more than 67,000 veterans in 21 counties, encompassing more than 15,000 square miles. Charleston VAMC is a 149-authorized-bed tertiary care teaching hospital with 20 operating nursing home care beds and is dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care and services to veterans along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.
The full range of inpatient and outpatient care is provided through primary care, tertiary care and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, women’s health and dentistry. Specialty services include cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, mental health programs for PTSD, substance use disorders, military sexual trauma, cardiology, oncology, nephrology, pulmonary and geriatrics. The medical center supports five community-based outpatient clinics in Savannah and Hinesville, Georgia; and Beaufort, Goose Creek and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as well as an annex in North Charleston. The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center also supports vet centers in Savannah, and Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center
950 15th St. (Downtown)
1 Freedom Way (Uptown)
Augusta, GA 30904 706-733-0188
The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center is a two-division Medical Center that provides tertiary care in medicine, surgery, neurology, psychiatry, rehabilitation medicine and spinal cord injury. The Downtown division is authorized for 155 beds (58 medicine, 37 surgery and 60 spinal cord injury). The Uptown division, about 3 miles away, is authorized for 315 beds (68 psychiatry, 15 blind rehabilitation and 40 medical rehabilitation). In addition, a 132-bed Restorative/Nursing Home Care Unit and 60-bed domiciliary are at the Uptown Division.
The medical center prides itself on continually improving and expanding its health care knowledge. It enjoys a strong affiliation with the Medical College of Georgia, providing medical and allied health training to an average of more than 700 students and residents annually. The center’s many programs and services include an active-duty rehab unit, audiology, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, home-based primary care, homeless chronically mentally ill care, hospice, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, neurology, open heart surgery, respiratory therapy, sleep laboratory program, spinal cord injury center, stroke rehabilitation, women’s health and more
The following is a list of clinics and the vet center in Savannah. For a full list of clinics and other facilities, go to www.va.gov/directory/guide/region.asp?ID=1007.
Savannah VA Outpatient Clinic
325 W. Montgomery Crossroad
Savannah, GA 31406 912-920-0214
Hinesville Outpatient Clinic
500 E. Oglethorpe Highway
Hinesville, GA 31313 912-408-2900
Savannah Veterans Center
321 Commercial Drive
Savannah, GA 31406 912-961-5800
Georgia Department of Veteran Service
Floyd Veterans Memorial Building, Suite E-970
Atlanta, GA 30334-4800 404-656-2300
VA Suicide Hotline 800-273-8255
The Department of Veteran Service improves the quality of life for Georgia’s veterans, military and their families by increasing awareness and access to appropriate federal, state and local resources. Veterans within the state can receive health care from a variety of facilities, including two veterans homes. Combat veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after Jan. 28, 2003, are eligible to enroll for enhanced care in the VA health care system for five years from their date of discharge or release. The enrollment period begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active-duty service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date. Veterans, including activated reservists and National Guard members, are eligible if they served on active duty in combat after Nov. 11, 1998, and have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Go to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/returning_servicemembers.asp.
Because emergencies don’t announce themselves, it’s prudent to know where to go when they happen. Saving minutes in a crisis can mean saving a life. Knowing what services are available, and where, can make all the difference. In life-threatening situations, call 911 immediately and follow dispatcher instructions.
Georgia Regional Hospital
1915 Eisenhower Drive
Savannah, GA 31406 912-356-2011
800 E. 68th St.
Savannah, GA 31405 912-298-1000
Liberty Regional Medical Center
462 Elma G. Miles Parkway
Hinesville, GA 31313 912-369-9400
Memorial University Medical Center
4700 Waters Ave.
Savannah, GA 31404 912-350-8000
St. Joseph’s Candler Hospital
5353 Reynolds St.
Savannah, GA 31405 912-819-6000
St. Joseph’s Hospital
11705 Mercy Blvd.
Savannah, GA 31419 912-819-4100
In Hinesville and Savannah
There are many health care services in Hinesville and Savannah for military, civilians and veterans, though implementation of the Affordable Care Act has changed established insurance options. The state of Georgia currently does not have a state-run health exchange where you can get quotes directly. Instead, the federal health exchange will direct you to a number of approved insurance brokers and exchanges. Some of these are privately owned; others will direct you to publicly held, for-profit companies. Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on open enrollment for health care coverage under the national Affordable Care Act.
See the Advertiser Directory in this guide to connect with local hospitals and medical centers, health care centers and health care providers.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE CLINICS AND RESOURCES
A community health center or clinic is customarily the place to go for those who have no health insurance or have limited income or ability to pay medical fees. Such clinics accept most insurance and provide affordable, comprehensive health care by well-trained, professional staff. They also serve those who are uninsured and underinsured, and most are open to making sliding scale payment arrangements based on income and family size.
For a full list of community health centers in Georgia, visit the Georgia Association for Primary Health Care website at http://gaphc.org and select “Locations.”
The Georgia Dental Association website, www.gadental.org, is a useful place to start in finding a dentist with its roster lists. Select “Find a Dentist” from the home page and then search by address, name or specialty to find or verify a dentist, hygienist or dental assistant. You can also seek referrals from people you know who’ve had dental care in the area.
- Consider the following to find the best dentist for your needs.
- Are the office hours convenient for your schedule?
- Is the dental office close to your home or office?
- How are dental emergencies handled?
- Does the office appear to be clean and well organized?
- Is the staff helpful and friendly?
- What are the financial policies and how is insurance handled?
A good relationship with your dentist is essential to good oral health care. So take your time and choose one that you and your family feel comfortable with.
The Oral Health Program of the Georgia Department of Public Health can give you tips for oral health and low-cost dental care. Visit its web page at https://dph.georgia.gov/oral-health-program.
FINDING A LOCAL DOCTOR
The best rule in finding a health care provider in a new location is the sooner, the better. Before arriving at your new assignment, check the Georgia Composite Medical Board’s online directory search at http://medicalboard.georgia.gov/look-licensee. Click on “Search for a licensee now” then look for providers by name, location and specialty. That should give you an idea of local medical practitioners as well as where you might need to go for specialized care.
Personal referrals from friends or other medical personnel can add to your options. Building trust with a health care provider takes time, so don’t wait until a family member is ill to find a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care provider.
Keep in mind the following tips and questions as you look for a health care provider.
- Ask health insurance plans and medical offices for information on their doctors’ training and experience.
- Use AMA Resources for Patients, the American Medical Association’s free physicians’ information service at www.ama-assn.org.
- Has the doctor completed several years of training in a specialty and passed an exam? Check out the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org, call 866-275-2267 or write to the ABMS, 353 N. Clark St., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60654.
- Has anyone registered a complaint or taken disciplinary action against the doctor? To find out, check out the Georgia Composite Medical Board at http://medicalboard.georgia.gov or call 404-656-3913.
Call the doctor’s office and ask for an appointment. Most doctors will take time to meet potential patients, but you should expect a nominal fee for the use of his or her time.
When you meet a doctor and the staff for the first time, consider the following: When scheduling the appointment, was the receptionist friendly, prompt and professional? Did he or she take time to answer your questions? Were you left on hold too long? Did the receptionist seem knowledgeable about the workings of the office? When you arrived, were you greeted promptly? Was the reception area clean and comfortable? Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions? Did you have to wait long in the exam room before the doctor arrived? Was the exam room orderly and clean, with a chair for a family member to sit in? When the doctor arrived and introduced himself or herself, was it with a smile? Did the doctor seem rushed or tired? Did you get a good first impression? Did you feel comfortable revealing personal information? During the consultation, did nurses or assistants pop in and out? Did the doctor leave the room during your conversation? Did the doctor seem caring, compassionate and sympathetic to your concerns? Did the doctor rush through the meeting? Did the doctor seem relaxed? Did you feel as though you were the only patient the doctor had to see that day?
Treat finding a doctor as seriously as looking for a new job or a new home. Depending on the length of time you will be in the area, this relationship is a long-term commitment, and you want to be comfortable with the person who will see you while you are most vulnerable.
Public Health Care
Georgia Department of Public Health
2 Peachtree St. NW, 15th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303 404-657-2700
The state department of public health works to protect and improve the health and well-being of all Georgians. To that goal, the department provides services statewide by public health professionals to assure that water is safe, children have immunizations, restaurants are safe and birth certificates are correct — to name just a few.
The department’s main office is in Atlanta. At the state level, the DPH functions through numerous divisions, sections, programs and offices. Locally, DPH funds and collaborates with Georgia’s 159 county health departments and 18 public health districts. Its website has information on health topics, services available and a listing of local health units by region.
Local health units offer a variety of services, including communicable disease investigation and intervention, family planning, immunizations, STD counseling and testing, WIC and nutrition services, women’s health services and more. Services vary by location. A listing of local health units in Savannah and Hinesville follows. For a full list of local health units, their hours and their services, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/public-health-districts and click on any region in the Georgia map.
Chatham County Health Department
400 Mall Blvd., Suite G
Savannah, GA 31406 912-644-5200
Chatham CARE Center
107 B Fahm St.
Savannah, GA 31401 912-651-2253
1395 Eisenhower Drive
Savannah, GA 31406 912-356-2441
1602 Drayton St.
Savannah, GA 31416 912-651-3378
Liberty County Health Department
1113 E. Oglethorpe Highway
Hinesville, GA 31310 912-884-3889
Fort Stewart WIC Clinic
1183 W. Bultman Ave.
Hinesville, GA 31310 912-877-3330
1113 E. Oglethorpe Highway
Hinesville, GA 31310 912-876-2173
Liberty CARE Center
1113 E. Oglethorpe Highway
Hinesville, GA 31313 912-876-5085