More than a century ago Harbin Clinic’s founders practiced medicine in ways most often associated with large urban centers of the time. Though Harbin Clinic is no longer family-owned, it is still physician-led, physician-owned and committed to its heritage of well-trained doctors providing excellent healthcare for their community. Direct descendants of Dr. Wylie Reeder Harbin still practice at Harbin Clinic today.
The First Harbin Physician
After graduating from Medical College of South Carolina in 1858, young Wylie Reeder Harbin served as a medical officer in the Civil War (7th Regiment, South Carolina). He was captured during the war, but after his release he walked 350 miles to his home in Fairplay, SC. This same spirit was evident in his 1870’s move to Calhoun, Georgia, where he started a small but busy medical practice. Wylie Reeder Harbin became known for his compassionate, attentive care for the people in his community.
The First Harbin Practice
Following in their father’s medical footsteps, Robert Maxwell Harbin and William Pickens Harbin graduated from Bellevue Medical College in New York in 1888 and 1897, respectively. They trained with the Mayo brothers (of Mayo Clinic) and exchanged letters outlining their progressive ideas. The two Harbin brothers established the first Harbin medical practice in Rome in 1901. Their pioneering spirits and vision for excellence began the success story that is still being written today.
The growing need for the Harbin brother’s medical care allowed them to establish the Harbin Hospital, and high demand caused the hospital to expand dramatically and seek out additional qualified partners. Among these highly distinguished physicians were Dr. W.H. Lewis, a famed diagnostician from Mayo Clinic who established the first department of internal medicine and diagnosis in Georgia.
Beyond Harbin Hospital
Harbin Hospital’s collaborative approach to medicine seemed unconventional. However, the benefits of a group practice comprised of shared knowledge and individual expertise were evident, and soon became the standard. The Harbin Hospital has been associated with many fine physicians through the years who contributed a great deal of medical knowledge and expertise to help keep the hospital on the cutting-edge of treatment innovations. As the years turned, Harbin physicians envisioned a new model of healthcare that provided medical specialties to care for patients. Building on the original vision, Harbin Clinic remains dedicated to patient care, innovation and collaborative thinking.
1948-1969 (20 Doctors, 1 Dentist)
During the 1950s and 1960s Harbin Clinic recruited physicians with medical specialties such as Neurosurgery and Orthopaedics. Each new physician enriched Harbin Clinic’s ability to care holistically for patients. In 1969, Harbin Clinic purchased a nine-acre tract from Berry College on an unpaved dirt road at the Southwest corner of Martha Berry Boulevard and Redmond Road. Here “in the country” they built a 40,000 square foot facility and practiced consensus-based leadership, growing into a group of 20 doctors, a dentist and a pharmacy.
1970 - 1990 (30 Physicians)
In the early 1970s, Harbin Clinic continued building a roster of physicians with specialty medical expertise that complemented care provided by general practitioners in the surrounding communities. Rome was the ideal location for this medical hub and drew patients from all of Northwest Georgia. During these years Dr. Bannester L. Harbin, Jr. served as president while still practicing general surgery. Inspired by his grandfather and great uncle, who felt a deep sense of responsibility to care for others through public service, “Dr. Banny” and the other Harbin physicians cared for Berry College students, just as the first Harbin brothers had done.
1990-2002 (50-60 Physicians)
In the 1990s, Harbin leadership committed to enhance health care in the communities where their patients lived. Harbin Clinic established new locations throughout Northwest Georgia to deliver primary care and select specialty services by affiliating with well-established local physicians outside of Rome. At the same time Harbin Clinic began making more decisions as a group, linked by information technology, high standards of care, and a collaborative model of medicine. The Quality Assurance Committee was created to measure and enhance care standards throughout Harbin Clinic. Active to this day, the QA Committee is composed of doctors, nurses and others who identify best practices and ensure superior treatment for Harbin patients.
2003 - Today (More than 140 Physicians)
In recent decades, Harbin Clinic has grown exponentially, recruiting physicians from some of the most esteemed institutions in the world. They choose Harbin Clinic because here they can personally direct patient care in a collaborative environment. Harbin Clinic has grown into Georgia’s largest privately-owned, multi-specialty medical clinic, with an 11-county referral base throughout Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.