GHA Member Hospital Happenings

Shepherd Center Wins Patient Safety Award for Medication Safety

ATLANTA – The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) has awarded its prestigious Quality and Patient Safety Award to Shepherd Center for its project that improved reliability in medication administration. PHA is an affiliate of the Georgia Hospital Association.

The project, titled, “Building Processes to Promote High Reliability in Patient Identification and Medication Administration,” won first place in the Hospitals with 100-299 Beds category. These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

Shepherd Center President and CEO Sarah Morrison, PT, MBA, MHA, and Susan Bowen, RN, CCRN, CPHQ, CLNC, director of Quality, Outcomes and Patient Safety, accepted the award, which was presented at the 2019 GHA Patient Safety & Quality Summit on January 9. Morrison also gave a presentation at the meeting.

“With great pride and humility, Shepherd Center accepted this award in recognition for our outstanding effort in the pursuit of genuine patient safety,” Bowen said. “There is nothing more important than delivering safe, reliable patient care.”

Georgia Hospital Association President and CEO Earl Rogers echoed Bowen’s comments.

“Elimination of medication errors is essential to medication safety and is a priority of hospitals statewide,” Rogers said. “We applaud Shepherd Center for its successes and for making critical progress in patient safety while ensuring the best and safest care possible for patients.”

The Shepherd Center project team under Bowen’s supervision involved these individuals:

  • Yong Kang, Pharm D, clinical pharmacy coordinator and chair of Shepherd’s Medication Work Group. She led the project team.
  • Michelle Nemeth, PT, senior clinical improvement advisor in the Quality, Outcomes and Patient Safety Department. She was the project facilitator.
  • Certified nurse educators and patient safety officer members, who served as coaches on the project
  • All Nurse Managers
  • Respiratory Therapy Manager
  • Nurse Educators
  • Information Systems Department
  • All Frontline Staff


The DAISY Foundation Awards Nurses for Extraordinary Care

Honoring nurses internationally, The DAISY Foundation was created in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.His family was impacted so positively by the nurses who skillfully and compassionately cared for Patrick during his eight-week hospitalization they wanted a way to both honor their loved one by recognizing nurses everywhere for their dedication. The DAISY Foundation was created in 1999 and has been utilized by over 3,400 healthcare facilities in the U.S. and across the world.

Nurses are nominated by anyone in the organization – patients, family members, other nurses, physicians, and other clinicians and staff – anyone who experiences or observes extraordinary & compassionate care.

Coffee Regional Medical Center holds a ceremony recognizing these nurses bi-annually. Each nominee is recognized and one winner is chosen for each quarter from those nominees.

A ceremony was held on January, 19, 2019 to honor DAISY winners for 3rd & 4th quarter 2018. The winners were Marah Johnson, RN and Ka’Nita Williams, LPN. Coffee Regional Medical Center would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our DAISY Award winners and also thank each of our dedicated caregivers for all they do each and every day to talk care of our patients and each other. 

Floyd Polk Medical Center Receives Level IV Trauma Designation

Floyd Polk Medical Center has received confirmation from the Georgia Department of Public Health that it has been designated a Level IV Trauma Center.

“The administration and staff of (Floyd) Polk Medical Center have clearly demonstrated dedication to the care of trauma patients in Georgia. You are an asset to the community and citizens of your area,” J. Patrick O’Neal, Commissioner of the DPH, stated in a confirmation letter sent to hospital Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer Tifani Kinard.

The Level IV designation means that Floyd Polk Medical Center, a critical access hospital, can stabilize injured patients, and if needed, to ensure they can safely be transferred to a higher level of care, Kinard said. As a critical access hospital, Floyd Polk Medical Center offers essential medical services to its surrounding community such as 24/7 emergency services, family medicine, sub-acute rehabilitation, outpatient surgery and cardiac imaging

Just 20 miles to the north is Floyd Medical Center, a state-designated Level II Trauma Center that provides around-the-clock emergency care, seven days a week. Floyd’s Emergency Care Center is specially equipped to treat patients with acute and life-threatening traumatic injuries.

Kinard said the hospital staff has been working hard to achieve the designation.

“This is been something we have been working on for three years,” Kinard said. “We have been enhancing our education and processes to meet the standard. I am very proud of the staff here and the recognition indicates the level of care we have been able to provide for Polk County residents.”

A team of surveyors visited the hospital and reviews its processes to determine if it complies with guidelines established by the American College of Surgeons, Kinard said. 

New Internal Medicine Practice Now Open in Gainesville

You now have more options for primary care in Gainesville, thanks to a new Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) internal medicine practice opening today. The office is accepting patients now, and you’re invited to attend an open house on January 31 to meet the staff and see the space.

NGPG Internal Medicine – which is conveniently located around the corner from Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville at 1285 Sims Street – offers routine and preventive health evaluations, immunizations, EKGs, physicals, lab services and same-day sick appointments. The practice’s three board-certified physicians team with a skilled nurse practitioner to care for patients collaboratively:

Taylor Henson, MD and Dawn Sosebee, FNP-C

James Jackson, MD and Juli Dyer, FNP-C

Bradley Pierce, MD and Michele Shook, FNP-C

“Our community has really grown, and we recognize the challenge to get an appointment with a primary care physician in a timely manner,” said Daniel Tuffy, president of NGPG.“We are excited to improve patient access to excellent health care.”

On Thursday, January 31, NGPG Internal Medicine will open its doors to the community from 5 to 7 p.m. for tours, refreshments and a chance to meet the providers. Guests will also be able to schedule an appointment.

Elbert Memorial Hospital Performs First 3D Mammogram

Elbert Memorial Hospital is excited to announce its Radiology Department performed its FIRST 3D mammogram recently with patient Mary Louise Thomas.

Hospital CEO Kerry Trapnell said, “3D Imaging is the best technology available, and we are very pleased to offer this service to our community. We are the only hospital in our 35 mile radius to offer 3D Mammography.”  

Georgia Trend Announces Elbert Memorial Hospital Top Ten Among Small Hospitals in Georgia

Georgia Trend Magazine announced last month its 2018 TOP Hospitals. Elbert Memorial Hospital ranks in the TOP TEN Among Small Hospitals in Georgia (Hospitals with fewer than 100 beds.)

“This is great news,” said Hospital CEO Kerry Trapnell. “We are honored to be on this list.Our hospital and staff are committed to providing exceptional care to all of our patients. We strive every day to improve patient experiences and outcomes.Being in the Top Ten two years in a row truly affirms that EMH provides excellent care to this community.”

Hospitals in the ranking include those that participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Value Based Purchasing program. A Total Performance Score was used to rank the hospitals in each group using information on clinical processes, patient experience, outcomes and efficiency. The hospital rankings are based on CMS data downloaded August 18, 2018. Analysis of the data was completed for Georgia Trend by independent consultant Mark A. Thompson, associate dean and professor at the Hull College of Business at Augusta University.

Mark A. Thompson said, “While hospital rankings can assist consumers in providing valuable information on overall hospital performance, there are many factors that an individual should consider when deciding where to go for hospital services. Consumers should consult their doctors or other healthcare professionals before making a decision.”

Phoebe Hires New President and Chief Executive Officer

J. Scott Steiner, FACHE, will become the next President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Phoebe Putney Health System (PPHS) on March 1, 2019.  Since 2007, Steiner has served as an executive with Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a Fortune 500 company based in Dallas, TX, operating 70 hospitals and 470 outpatient centers in 47 states.  Steiner currently serves as CEO of four Tenet hospitals in Detroit, MI and previously was CEO of a Tenet hospital in Chicago, IL.

“We were extremely pleased and impressed with the quality of the dozens of applicants from around the country who expressed interest in leading our vibrant and growing health system,” said Lem Griffin, Chairman of PPHS Board of Directors.  “Our board, medical staff leadership and other leaders in our health system interviewed an outstanding group of finalists and all agreed that Scott is the right person to lead Phoebe into the future.”

Steiner is recognized as an approachable and hands-on leader with a history of guiding organizations known for strong employee, patient and physician satisfaction.  He has a record of strengthening physician partnerships, building community collaborations and serving as a patient safety champion.

“Phoebe is an outstanding organization with a long and proud history of serving the people of southwest Georgia well.  Its impressive, expanding team of highly-qualified physicians and other clinicians brings specialty services and a level of care normally found only in larger metropolitan areas,” Steiner said.  “Phoebe is a true comprehensive system with amazing facilities, equipment, technology and employees, and I am impressed with the staff’s commitment to continuous improvement.  I look forward to joining the Phoebe Family on that unceasing journey to find new and better ways to deliver quality care and build community partnerships,” Steiner added.

Raised in St. Louis, Steiner graduated from Missouri State University before earning a Masters of Business Administration degree with a Health Services Emphasis from Webster University in St. Louis.  He began his career in healthcare administration as Director of Physician Network & Development for a hospital in East St. Louis, IL in 1992.

He and his wife Tracy, a retired school teacher and active community volunteer, will move to Albany soon.  They have two daughters, one currently attending medical school and one enrolled in college.  “I am driven by faith and family,” Steiner said.  “I look forward to becoming an integral part of the community and enjoying the many wonderful outdoor activities available in southwest Georgia.”

PPHS is a not-for-profit healthcare delivery system serving a population of more than 500,000 residents in southwest Georgia.  Phoebe has grown significantly over the last 20 years and now employs more than 4,300 people throughout the region.  The system operates four hospitals, family medicine clinics, specialty physician offices and rehabilitation clinics. 

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is the system’s flagship hospital and one of Georgia’s largest comprehensive, regional medical centers with 691 beds on two campuses.  PPHS also includes Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, a 76-bed community hospital in Americus, GA and Phoebe Worth Medical Center, a 25-bed critical access hospital located in Sylvester, GA.  The health system also manages Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Cuthbert, GA.

Phoebe Physician Group employs more than 300 clinicians who work in Phoebe hospitals as well as 42 clinics in 9 counties.  The system also includes the Phoebe Family Medicine Residency and is home to the Medical College of Georgia Southwest Campus and the Southwest Clinical Campus of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy.  Phoebe’s main campus serves as one of six designated regional perinatal centers in Georgia.

Steiner will replace Joel Wernick who is retiring after 30 years as Phoebe’s top executive.  

Cherokee Medical Center Improvements Underway

Projects underway at Cherokee Medical Center are expected to ensure the hospital continues providing quality care for the patients it serves. In the Emergency Room, exam rooms and the waiting room will be expanded. Upgrades to Imaging Services are also planned.

“All these facility and technology upgrades will enable Cherokee to expand our treatment options so that residents of northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia can receive the care they need closer to home,” said Brandon Reece, Administrator of Cherokee Medical Center. 

The number of exam rooms in the Emergency Room is being doubled to eight from four. A remodeled and expanded waiting room will also better serve patients. The Emergency Room recently moved into a temporary space. 'Being able to have a temporary space will give the construction teams free reign to work on the project during the next few months,' said David Early, Vice President of Support Services and Operations at Floyd. 

Floyd’s Volunteer Services has contributed $125,000 to this expansion, proceeds made from fundraising efforts over the past year. Floyd Healthcare Foundation is also raising funds for the project. The work is expected to be completed by spring.

Cherokee Medical Center's Imaging Services department also will have several significant upgrades. An ultrasound machine will be moved to Cherokee Medical Center from Floyd Medical Center. 

A digital radiography room will replace the existing X-ray room. The existing X-ray room and a portable X-ray unit will be upgraded to digital radiography standards. That project will also include an overhaul of the electronic components and cosmetic appearance of the room.

'Combining these investments with Cherokee Medical Center's existing CT scanner and digital mammography unit will complete a full suite of technologically advanced, best practice imaging modalities for the residents and health care providers of Centre, Alabama,' said Aimee Griffin, Assistant Director of Imaging Services at Floyd. 

Floyd Cherokee Medical Center is Weigh-in Site for Scaleback Alabama

Floyd Cherokee Medical Center is an official weigh-in site for this year’s Scaleback Alabama initiative to combat obesity in the state. Applicants who lose at least 10 pounds from January to April will be eligible to win prizes through a series of drawings held at the end of the competition.

To sign up and to learn more details, visit The weigh-in period is from Jan. 21 – 27. The weigh-out period is April 1 – 7. The website offers a variety of exercise and dieting tips to help participants get started and reach their goals.

Scale Back Alabama participants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Live or work in Alabama
  • Be on a team of two individuals (no more, no less!)
  • Register online or visit an official weigh-in site
  • Weigh in and weigh out at an official site
  • Provide information for both team members before you can submit the registration. There is no cost to participate in the competition or to register.
  • Print the registration confirmation and take it with you to the weigh-in site during weigh-in week (January 21-27) for the coordinator to fill in your beginning weight.

Team and individual prizes will be awarded through a random drawing. The first 3 teams drawn win $1,000 per team member, or a total of $2,000 for the entire team. The second 3 teams drawn win $500 per team member, or a total of $1,000 for the entire team. The final 3 teams drawn win $250 per team member, or a total of $500 for the entire team.

All individuals who lose at least 10 pounds, as recorded by a coordinator at an official Scale Back Alabama weigh-in site, are eligible for an individual prize, regardless of their team’s achievement. Individuals drawn for a team prize are not eligible to win the individual prizes. From the pool of eligible participants, 40 individuals drawn will win one of 40 achievement prizes of $100 per person.

To schedule your official weigh-in and weigh-out, contact Christa McDaniel at Floyd Cherokee Medical Center, 256-927-1436.

Coffee Regional Expands Cardiac Services

In an initiative to advance the level of cardiac care available to patients of Coffee and surrounding counties, and continue the “Bring it Home” initiative to bring vital healthcare services home, Coffee Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is proud to announce the launch of its new Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Program. After successfully completing a multi-level process, Coffee Regional has received its approval from the State of Georgia’s Department of Community Health to begin offering cardiac intervention services.

Under the encouragement of Coffee Regional CEO, Vicki Lewis, the development of this new service line was approved to begin in July 2018. This project was spear-headed by Executive Vice-President, Sherry Thomas and Cardiac Cath Lab manager, Julie Peterson. An independent consulting firm, Corazon, Inc. was brought in to ensure all items were well-managed through each step of the development process. Their accreditation process exceeded the requirements of the Georgia Department of Community Health and ensured CRMC met and, into the future, sustains established best practice standards for the PCI Program. Cardiologists, of CRH Cardiology Group, Dr. Glenn Evans, Dr. Joel Ferree, and Dr. Willie Bell along with Eddie Roberts, PA-C worked to ensure the cardiac catheterization lab and its employees were prepared for the new program. All physicians working in the new program have extensive experience in cardiac catheterization procedures. Countless members of Coffee Regional have worked diligently to ensure this new program would be patient focused and quality driven.

Though this service is new to Coffee Regional Medical Center, it was vital that the cardiologists performing the procedures be experienced.Dr. Glenn Evans of CRH Cardiology Group has treated thousands of South Georgians throughout his 23 years as a practicing Interventional Cardiologist. Dr. Evans was previously performing interventional heart catheterizations in Valdosta, Ga and is now performing procedures in Coffee Regional Medical Center’s cardiac cath lab. Dr. Evans is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Interventional Cardiology and received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Ga. He completed 5 years of fellowship training in Cardiovascular Diseases and Interventional Cardiology at University of Tennessee - Memphis. Dr. Evans previously served as Medical Director of Interventional Cardiology South Georgia Medical Center and Chief of Cardiovascular Services for Valdosta Medical Group in Valdosta, Ga.

“This is the beginning of growing a strong cardiac program that meets the needs of Coffee County and residents of South Georgia,” said Sherry Thomas, Executive VP of Patient Care Services.

There will be an interventional cardiologist on call 24/7. Expert interventional cardiologists from Emory Health System in Atlanta, Ga and the Ashchi Heart and Vascular Center in Jacksonville, Fl will be assisting Dr. Evans with interventional cardiology call. These physicians bring years of knowledge and expertise to the program.

“We are very pleased to launch our interventional cardiology program here at Coffee Regional Medical Center under the leadership of Dr. Glenn Evans. His expertise in cardiology will bring an invaluable service to Coffee County as well as to our neighboring communities,” says Vicki Lewis, CEO of Coffee Regional. “In partnership with our highly-skilled, dedicated staff of cardiologists, we look forward to bringing this new level of quality cardiovascular care to the communities we serve.”

This is a very exciting time for Coffee Regional Medical Center and the citizens of this community.To better understand the importance of timely cardiac intervention, imagine you are holding your breath. It’s hard to do for a lengthy amount of time, right? When someone has a heart attack, most often without warning, an artery is being blocked of normal blood flow.During this time, a person’s heart is being deprived of oxygen. Every second counts when it comes to opening that blocked artery. Heart muscle begins to die rapidly after a full blockage and the length of time a person goes without that vital oxygen-rich blood determines the amount of heart muscle/ tissue damage that is done. Often times, if a vessel is able to be reopened swiftly the patient can make an impressive & quick recovery, right here at home. The new PCI Program will allow the Interventional Cardiologist to place a stent along the walls of the blocked artery, restoring blood flow.The procedure is minimally invasive and typically performed by placing a catheter in the artery percutaneously (through the skin) around the groin or wrist area. A catheter is pushed through the artery into the heart to diagnose any blockage.

There will be times that the PCI procedure will reveal more severe cases of blockage and/or damage. In those cases, Coffee Regional will stabilize the patient and transfer them to the appropriate facility.

Coffee Regional is proud to be able to offer this life-saving cardiac service. To schedule an appointment or learn more information about the Interventional Cardiology Program at Coffee Regional Medical Center, call Julie Peterson, Cardiac Cath Lab Director at 912-383-5697 or visit us online at

Board Certified Interventional Pulmonologist Joins Memorial Health

Dr. Jason R. McClune, who recently earned his board certification in interventional pulmonary medicine, has joined Memorial Health University Physicians | Lung & Sleep Care.

As an interventional pulmonologist, McClune specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the airways, the pleura (lining of the rib cage) and cancers of the chest and lungs.

McClune is a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill. He did two fellowships at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, one in pulmonary/critical care medicine and, most recently, one in interventional pulmonary medicine.

McClune is also board certified in pulmonary and critical care medicine.

A native of the South Carolina Lowcountry, McClune earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Charleston Southern University. He is a member of the American Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonologists and has been published in numerous medical journals, including Canadian Respiratory Journal and the Journal of Bronchology.

He sees patients at his office on the campus of Memorial Health University Medical Center, 4700 Waters Ave., in Suite 507, Building 100, Savannah. The office number is (912) 350-4750. Appointments can be scheduled online at