History of Mizell Memorial Hospital

Our History
Sitting atop a gently sloping hill, the building itself is of modern architecture with a pitched roof.

That was how Mizell Memorial Hospital in Opp was described on December 8, 1949, the day it was dedicated. Now, the hospital, which originally cost about $500,000 to build, continues to serve the community.

On that Thursday, a crowd gathered to hear Senator Lister Hill and Congressman George Grant speak. Fred Lyon and other civic leaders, along with the Opp & Micolas Mills, were responsible for raising funds for the original building. The hospital was named for the late Charles Wesley Mizell who was a prominent textile manufacturer, banker, and businessman.

New Additions
It's been more than 50 years since the doors of Mizell Memorial Hospital first opened for patient care, and the years have witnessed many changes to Covington County's community hospital.

What hasn't changed through the years is the commitment to serve the healthcare needs of people throughout the county and surrounding communities.

"The hospital is a private, not-for-profit, acute care facility, governed by a local volunteer board of directors made up of individuals from the community," said Jana Wyatt, hospital CEO.

"Local leadership means the hospital grows with the needs of the community, decided by people who live and work right here at home," he said.

From a 29-bed facility in 1949, the hospital added a wing in 1957, followed by a new surgical wing in 1963. Growing vertically in 1969 from one to three stories, a new three-bed intensive care unit was also established.

Currently licensed for 99 beds, Mizell has an operating capacity of 54 beds. The active medical staff consists of physicians and surgeons in family practice, obstetrics, pediatrics, radiology, gynecology, general surgery and orthopedic surgery.

"Mizell also offers specialty clinics in the areas of cardiology, neurology, radiation oncology, psychology and hematology and medical oncology," said Wyatt.

"We want to provide first-class services, as good as any facility in the nation. We want the care we give here to be as good or better than you get anywhere else. How we achieve this is to have world-class employees and physicians," he said.

Meeting the community's need of local cancer treatment services, the Southeast Alabama Oncology Center opened in May 2000.

"We brought cancer treatment services to our county and surrounding communities. It's a tremendous asset and shining star. That's what I mean about bringing services to the area that we need," Wyatt said.

"We've renovated the third floor of the hospital and most of the second floor. We've brought in technology - we have nuclear medical services in-house and created a certified sleep center," he said.

"We also recently renovated the emergency department, admissions and outpatient surgery areas to provide more privacy, streamlined processing, and more convenience for our patients."

Mizell's reputation is growing for "providing quality healthcare with hometown compassion," the hospital's slogan.

The Goal of the Hospital
"Our employees are dedicated professionals with compassion for the patients we treat. We have a history of consistently ranking in the top 1 percent in the nation in patient satisfaction. That consistency is phenominal for any facility," Wyatt said.

The statistical ranking is based on 1,600 providers not just in the hospital's peer group, but on a national level, based on surveys from patients and compiled by the respected firm of Press Ganey Associates.

Mizell earned the highest recognition possible the past eight years from the Alabama Productivity Center, which honors organizations whose past or recent innovations in areas of production, service or management have resulted in increased productivity and quality.

"Mizell is one of very few hospitals to ever win the Alabama Quality Award twice - 2000 and 2004. The intervening years, Mizell was honored by winning the Award of Excellence for Continuous Productivity and Quality Improvement," Foster said.

Where does the hospital go from here?
"We collaborated with our physicians to create Opp Imaging Services, offering patients a more advanced, more comfortable, open MRI unit," he said.

Adapting to the ever-changing healthcare needs of the community is made possible not only by the hospital leadership through its board of directors, but also through its employees, said Foster.

"We've seen ourselves become the largest employer in the community in the last few years. We are both humbled and proud of the sacrifices that Mizell employees have made over the years. We say to them, 'thank you for a job well done.'

"With the continued support of this community, the stewardship of the board of directors, the expertise of the medical staff and the dedication and leadership of our employees, Mizell will continue to live up to our original promise of service excellence."