At Fort Hamilton Hospital, excellent care goes beyond delivering babies, treating cancer patients and responding quickly to emergencies. It also means handling all those patients with compassion, says Mark Smith, hospital president.

“The patient experience is a passion of mine,” says Smith, who was named president last June.

“People don’t always know if they’ve gotten great clinical care, even though we have the metrics to show they do get that here,” he says. “But what they do know is how they were treated. How did we make them feel? Did we listen to them? Did we talk with their family and help them understand their condition? That’s what we’re focused on as a community medical center.”

Fort Hamilton, part of the eight-hospital Kettering Health Network, will mark its 85th anniversary in May. In its long history the facility has undergone many changes, but what hasn’t changed is its focus on the City of Hamilton.

“Hamilton is our primary service market and where we expect to experience growth,” Smith says. “Our goal is to be a destination of choice for people of Hamilton.”

Because of that, he says the growing hospital corridor along Interstate 75 hasn’t had that big of an impact on Fort Hamilton.

“Certainly there’s been tremendous growth along I-75. Interestingly we’ve not seen an impact on our ED (Emergency Department) volume. In fact, it has increased the last couple years.”

To make sure it can handle that demand, Fort Hamilton formally unveiled a $5 million-plus Emergency Department expansion and renovation in February. The yearlong project, which included an additional 5,000 square feet, added a new, more inviting lobby, eight more rooms and less sterile-looking décor.

“One of the things the Kettering Health Network has across our facilities is a very warm, welcoming theme in all our facilities instead of being a cold, antiseptic environment. We feel the ED is a great place to put that impression across.”

Fort Hamilton’s ED sees about 42,000 patients annually, up from about 36,000 in 2011. With the expansion, the ED can handle more than 50,000 patient visits annually.

Fort Hamilton, the city’s largest private employer with more than 1,000 full- and part-time employees, is licensed for 260 beds. It also includes a state-of-the-art Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, the Gebhart Cancer Center and a well-regarded Wound Care Center.

“I’m biased, but I think our Wound Care Center is the best in the county,” says Smith. It includes two hyperbaric oxygen chambers for faster wound healing.

An important hospital initiative is physician recruitment, particularly in medical specialties, family practice and internal medicine.

Over the last year, Fort Hamilton has added more than 20 physicians, increasing its medical staff to more than 300.

“People like working in a community hospital where they feel they are part of a family,” says Smith. “We’re not the largest hospital in Butler County, but there is a family feel here that is remarkable. Physicians feel they can provide whole patient care. There is a real sense that they can practice medicine in a way that’s best for their patient.”