Hospital celebrates new name, owners

Two years ago, Anthony Smith saved a newspaper whose headline questioned whether St. Joseph Hospital would survive. It only was partially prophetic.

Dr. Smith and other officials formally unveiled the new name and logo of the former St. Joseph, which is now Trinity Hospital of Augusta.

Dr. Smith, the chairman of the hospital's board of directors, pulled out his copy of the newspaper to remind the crowd of all that the formerly struggling hospital endured before its sale last year to a consortium of the hospital's medical staff and Triad Hospitals Inc. of Plano, Texas. Dr. Smith said he never thought the hospital would close because of the dedication of its staff and physicians.

"There were people who had vision. And there were people who prayed," Dr. Smith said.

The deal with Triad could only work if a significant number of physicians bought into it, and so far more than 160 have, he said.

"We are here for you, Augusta, to be your partner in health and life," CEO James Cruickshank said.

While the hospital will no longer be Catholic, there will be a Christian presence, said Sister Fran Voivedich, one of three Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet still with the hospital.

"It hasn't ended, it has just changed," she said.

That legacy will be carried on through the employees who now embrace Trinity, said longtime St. Joseph board member Preston Sizemore.

"I think it's been instilled in the employees through the years," he said. "Many of them have migrated to this hospital and come to this hospital because of the mission, health care through Christ."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.