GHA Member Hospital Happenings

Numerous Gwinnett Medical Center Physicians Recognized as Top Doctors by Atlanta Magazine

Physicians from Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) were recently recognized in Atlanta Magazine’s annual list of top doctors.  Announced in July, the “Top Docs” are selected after peer nomination, extensive research, careful review, and screening by Castle Connolly, a healthcare research, information, and publishing company.

“Through our talented physicians, we are able to continually deliver the medical treatment that our community deserves,” said Phil Wolfe, president and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center.  This prestigious recognition reflects the dedication, compassion and commitment to excellence that our physicians demonstrate day in and day out.”

Thirty- one GMC doctors were included in this prestigious listing.  They are as follows:

  • Dr. Richard Abrohams,  Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Julius O. Ajayi, Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Roosevelt Allen, Jr., Urology
  • Dr. David B. Arkin, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
  • Dr. Dinesh Chatoth, Nephrology
  • Dr. Suiza Chua, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Dr. Cheryl Copas, Family Medicine
  • Dr. Hugh DeJarnette Family Medicine
  • Dr. Charles Douchy, Dermatology
  • Dr. Jing Gill, Dermatology
  • Dr. Louis Heller, Interventional Cardiology
  • Dr. Gretchen Koontz, Maternal and Fetal Medicine
  • Dr. Kim Lipscomb-McDaniel, Maternal and Fetal Medicine
  • Dr. Shukri Makhlouf, Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Peter Mann, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Dr. Fonda Mitchell, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Dr. Phillip Nakano, Plastic Surgery
  • Dr. Milan M. Patel, Hand Surgery
  • Dr. William Paxton, Nephrology
  • Dr. Joseph Pohl, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Dr. Robert Richard, Bariatric Surgery
  • Dr. Lisa Roberts, Pediatrics
  • Dr. Paul Rubin, Urology
  • Dr. Manfred Sandler, Cardiovascular Disease
  • Dr. Yvonne Satterwhite, Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Dr. Douglas Seeb, Diagnostic Radiology
  • Dr. Niraj Sharma, Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Dr. Gary Stillwagon, Radiation Oncology
  • Dr. Neill Videlefsky, Pediatric Cardiology
  • Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Dermatology
  • Dr. Johnny Won, Otolaryngology
  • Dr. Julie Zweig, Otolaryngology


The review includes, among other factors, scrutiny of medical education, training, board certifications, hospital appointments, administrative posts and professional achievement.

Each year, Castle Connolly compiles its annual “Top Doctors” list using a survey and research process involving tens of thousands of doctors across the United States and the medical leadership of leading hospitals.  Atlanta magazine uses this research to provide detailed information about the education, training, and special expertise of Atlanta doctors.

Navicent Health Board Chair Selected as NonProfit Pro "Board Member of the Year"

NonProfit Pro, an industry leading resource for nonprofit professional and thought leaders, has announced its 2018 Nonprofit Professionals of the Year, and has selected Macon native Starr H. Purdue as its 2018 Board Member of the Year. Committed to community service, Purdue has served on Navicent Health’s board of directors for 15 years, and as chair the board since 2009.

“When you live in a community, you must take an interest in it to ensure that community assets like Navicent Health are focused on and responsive to community needs,” Saud Purdue.

Through her dedication and leadership, Purdue has advanced healthcare services for patients in central and south Georgia through expanded services, improved facilities, advanced technology and strengthened relationships with community partners. Above all, Purdue has led Navicent Health’s efforts to raise community awareness of healthcare equity, and has championed the need to build equity throughout the community. Navicent Health and its partners, under Purdue’s leadership, continue to bridge efforts across the region to eliminate health disparities, accelerate health equity, and build stronger, healthier communities. Eliminating disparities, improving outcomes, decreasing preventable illnesses and premature deaths, most prevalent in minority, underserved, and rural, populations, is a priority. Navicent Health is using a focused, evidence-based approach toward achieving the goal of strengthening communities through education, prevention, early detection, access and disease management. Purdue has championed these efforts and been a key player in uniting the health system with area partners.

“Starr has tirelessly devoted her time and talent to improving services offered at Navicent Health, as well as improving the healthcare services offered to Macon-Bibb County and throughout the state. During her tenure as board chair, the role of hospitals has shifted from fixing what is wrong to helping people stay well. As chair of the board, Starr has assisted in building  a community that has health embedded in its culture, while ensuring the relevance of Navicent Health in a changing healthcare industry,” said Dr. Ninfa M. Saunders, President and CEO of Navicent Health.

Her dedication to the region is not limited to healthcare initiatives. She has served as Chairman of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority of Bibb County, and has served on the Boards of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, the Tubman African-American Museum and the Macon Economic Development Commission. Purdue has received the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Award, and has been recognized as a Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia.

Purdue has also served various organizations committed to the economic and cultural development of the Macon-Bibb County region as well. She is a recognized community leader in the Macon-Bibb region, and a recognized leader in her chosen profession. Purdue joined the family business at Hutchings Funeral Home in Macon, where she is employed as a funeral director and treasurer. She has served on the board of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, and was named District Mortician of the Year by the Georgia Funeral Service Practitioners Association. She has also been named an Outstanding Member by the National Association of Black Accountants.

NonProfit Pro offers a magazine, website and daily e-newsletter with a fresh look and quick, hard-hitting content as the go-to source for modern nonprofit professionals. NonProfit Pro is a source for nonprofit management and strategy developed for thought leaders and innovators, and covering topics ranging from internal issues such human resources, board and volunteer management to technology to tax and legal matters, news and fundraising.

Dr. Steve Shirley to Join Athens General & Colorectal Surgeons

Longtime Athens general surgeon Steve Shirley, M.D., is joining Athens General and Colorectal Surgeons, part of St. Mary's Medical Group, effective July 2, with office hours and surgery dates available in Athens and Lavonia.

As the newest member of AGCS, Dr. Shirley joins Drs. Sergio Mejias, Ryan Katz, W. Andrew Lawrence, and Aaron Carr.

Dr. Shirley is board certified by the American Board of Surgery, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Crawford Long Medical Society, the Georgia Surgical Society, and the Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons.

Dr. Shirley provides a wide range of general surgery services. As a skilled laparoscopic surgeon, he is able to use minimally invasive techniques for many procedures. Types of surgeries he performs include:

·         Breast surgery, including lumpectomy and mastectomy

·         Thyroid surgery

·         Gallbladder surgery

·         Hernia repair

·         Anti-reflux surgery

·         Appendix surgery

·         Stomach procedures

·         Colon surgery

·         Hemorrhoidal disease

·         Colonoscopy and upper endoscopy

Dr. Shirley is a native of Franklin County and has practiced in Athens for more than 30 years as physician owner of Northeast Georgia Surgical Consultants. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia, a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and completed an internship and residency at MCG from 1980 to 1985. He spent one year practicing in Elberton before moving to Athens. He is married with one daughter and two sons.

In Athens, Dr. Shirley will see patients at the AGCS main office at 740 Prince Ave., Building 2.   Dr. Shirley also will have a presence in Lavonia, providing services for the St. Mary's Sacred Heart Hospital community. For an appointment with Dr. Shirley at either of the AGCS locations please contact the Athens office at 706-548-5488

As part of St. Mary's Medical Group, AGCS accepts most major insurance plans and Medicare. Please contact your insurance provider for more information regarding your specific plan requirements for a general surgery referral.

Northside Hospital CEO Robert Quattrocchi Named Top CEO

Northside Hospital health system CEO Robert Quattrocchi has been named a winner of the sixth annual Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, ranking no. 32 on the list of 100 top CEOs in the United States.

Mr. Quattrocchi was one of only two Georgia-based CEOs named in the rankings, which are calculated from Glassdoor’s employee reviews of more than 700,000 companies around the world.

He also was among more than a dozen health care CEOs named in the top 100, which included the leaders of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

(See the complete list of all Top CEOs in 2018:,8.htm)

Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, released its annual report today. Among chief executives recognized by employees in the United States, Mr. Quattrocchi received an impressive 95 percent approval rating, which is based on anonymous and voluntary reviews shared by Northside Hospital employees on Glassdoor in the past 12 months.

“This recognition is possible only because of the people of Northside Hospital,” said Mr. Quattrocchi, who has been with the Atlanta-based health care system for more than 30 years. “The strength and dedication of Northside’s physicians and employees is unsurpassed – I haven’t seen anything like it in my career.”

“What they do for patients and families is remarkable. Their work has built a culture of excellence that nurtures great patient care teams,” Mr. Quattrocchi added. “Northside’s people make a huge difference every day, and it makes me very proud to be their colleague.”

As president and CEO of the Northside Hospital health system since 2004, Mr. Quattrocchi has led Northside to become one of the most respected health care organizations in the Southeast, serving 3 million patient encounters annually. In 2017, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Mr. Quattrocchi to its list of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs.

Mr. Quattrocchi has been a part of the senior management team at Northside Hospital since 1987. Prior to taking the helm, he served as chief operating officer and executive vice president of finance and administration, chief financial officer and director of fiscal services.

“Winning a Glassdoor Top CEO award is a true acknowledgement of exceptional leadership, as it reflects the opinions of the employees who work with a chief executive every day. I congratulate all of this year’s winners on this significant achievement,” said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor co-founder and CEO. “It can be a real recruiting advantage to have a top-rated CEO at the helm of a company who has strong support from his or her employees. The best CEOs are inspiring, trustworthy, and innovative and can be great motivators for people to bring their best selves to work.”

MCG Volunteer Faculty Recognized for Teaching Efforts

Volunteer clinical faculty at the state’s public medical school were honored for their teaching efforts at the medical school’s annual Statewide Faculty Development Conference this month in Jekyll Island.

The Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University has nearly 2,500 volunteer faculty who share their time, knowledge and skills with our students – 94 percent of whom practice in Georgia.

Winners of the 2018 Excellence in Clinical Education Awards were chosen by each of MCG’s five campuses. Each nominee teaches a core clinical clerkship/rotation, which students complete throughout their third and fourth clinically intensive years of medical school. Students at each campus voted to determine a winner.

Winners of the 2018 Excellence in Clinical Education Awards and the core clerkships they teach are:

Main campus: Dr. Sean Lynch, Family Medicine, Southern Family Medical Center, Augusta. “He has been a member of the family medicine teaching network for more than 12 years and has consistently hosted at least one student every rotation,” his nominators wrote. “Dr. Lynch is dedicated to patient care in south Augusta and is very well regarded, not only by his students, but also by the entire community.” Lynch is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

AU/UGA Medical Partnership: Dr. Brandon Harden, Pediatrics, Sibley Heart Center Cardiology, Athens. “As a pediatric subspecialist in Athens, Dr. Harden has greatly enriched the learning opportunities for our students at the Medical Partnership,” his nominators wrote. “He has eagerly worked with most of our third-year clerkship students, reviewing key concepts in the clinical setting… He also teaches a greatly enjoyed fourth-year elective, hosting many students each year.” Harden received his medical degree from Mercer University.

Northwest Campus (Rome): Dr. Jeffrey Glass, Neurology, Harbin Clinic, Rome. “He is a patient teacher, and cheerfully offers his mentoring in the midst of a very busy schedule,” his nomination reads. “Dr. Glass cares for his community where he lives and works, which is why he chooses to invest his time teaching the next generation of physicians.” Glass is a graduate of the University Of Tennessee Health Science Center College Of Medicine.

Southeast Campus (Savannah/Brunswick): Dr. Andrew Cichelli, Internal Medicine, East Georgia Pulmonary & Sleep, Statesboro. “Dr. Cichelli, a pulmonologist and critical care medicine specialist, came to us after 15 years of teaching at Drexel University,” his nomination reads. “He has never slowed down and has proven to be one of our very best teachers.” Cichelli earned his medical degree at Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University College of Medicine).

Southwest Campus (Albany): Dr. Clifford Dunn III, Family Medicine, Phoebe Family Care Center, Albany. “Naturally encouraging, he works with students to help each find and grow their strengths and assets,” his nominators wrote. “He challenges students to be their best and to take responsibility for their patients.” Dunn is a graduate of Ross University School of Medicine.

Skilled Nursing Facility Achieves Deficiency-Free Survey

Carlyle Place, Navicent Health is pleased to announce the recent deficiency- free survey its Harrington House skilled nursing center.  The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) conducted its annual survey April 30 - May 3, 2018.

DCH inspects nursing homes every nine to 15 months to assess compliance with federal and state standards of care, such as adequacy of staffing, quality of care and safety measures. Surveys are unannounced and conducted by a team of healthcare professionals. A vast array of potential quality issues is covered, including a detailed review of records and interviews with residents and loved ones. A deficiency-free survey reflects substantial compliance with a multitude of regulations enacted by the government to ensure the highest level of resident well-being.

“This achievement not only reflects the excellence of care provided at Carlyle Place, but is a reflection of the excellent teamwork that takes place within our facility. This achievement is shared by dining, housekeeping, maintenance, and nursing. Ongoing communication between departments is one of our keys to success. Because everyone is always looking out for the well-being of our residents, their stay is of the highest quality possible,” said Dawn Dunbar, Director of Health Center Services for Carlyle Place, Navicent Health. 

“The staff at Carlyle Place goes beyond the call of duty, not only in quality of care but for quality of life.  We are all proud of this achievement,” said Tom Rockenbach, Chief Administrative Officer for Carlyle Place, Navicent Health. 

Carlyle Place, Navicent Health is a not-for-profit Life Plan Community for seniors over the age of 62 who seek an active, independent lifestyle with the added security of on-site healthcare should their needs change. Carlyle Place is located on a 58-acre campus on Zebulon Road, which includes 60 garden homes, 167 apartment homes as well as assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care areas. Carlyle Place employs over 200 passionate staff members who work together to provide a quality lifestyle for residents. 

St. Mary's First in Region to Offer World's Smallest Pacemaker

St. Mary's Health Care System today announced that it is the first hospital in Northeast Georgia to offer a leadless pacemaker for patients who have bradycardia with atrial fibrillation (a-fib).

The Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device, approved for Medicare reimbursement, that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. The first procedure at St. Mary's was performed by Amit Shah, M.D., a cardiologist with Oconee Heart and Vascular Center, on Wednesday, June 13, in St. Mary's Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory.

Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At low rates, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells. Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia.

The Micra is comparable in size to a large vitamin pill. Dr. Amit Shah elected to use Medtronic’s Micra TPS because, unlike traditional pacemakers, the device does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket” under the skin to deliver pacing therapy. Instead, the leadless pacemaker is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines. It provides a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads – all while being cosmetically invisible. The Micra TPS is also designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels, enabling patients to lead an active lifestyle.

"Pacemaking is a life-saving technology that has been around for decades, but leadless pacemakers represent a paradigm shift that will change the way we implant cardiac rhythm management devices," Dr. Shah said after the procedure. "Since these devices alleviate the need for a surgical pocket and leads, we avoid traditional complications such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung), infections, pocket hematoma, and lead fractures. These features will improve our patients' safety and quality of life while providing equal if not superior pacemaker function."

The Micra is implanted through a small incision in the groin. In the June 13 procedure, after creating the incision, Dr. Shah carefully threaded a catheter (a long, thin tube) through the patient's blood vessels to the inside of his heart. With guidance from the cardiac electrophysiology laboratory's advanced x-ray imaging system, he positioned the catheter at the right location in the patient's heart and attached the device to the heart wall. He then tested the device to make sure it was properly attached and functioning well before removing the catheter. The entire procedure took only a few minutes, and the patient was able to go home the next day.

The Micra TPS incorporates a feature to enable retrieval of the device when possible; however, the device is designed to be left in the body.  For patients who need more than one heart device over the course of their life, Medtronic designed the miniaturized Micra TPS  with a unique feature that enables it to be permanently turned off so it can remain in the body and a new device can be implanted without risk of electrical interaction.

The Micra TPS is the first and only transcatheter pacing system to be approved for both 1.5 and 3 Tesla full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. It is also designed to allow patients to be followed by their physicians and send data remotely via the Medtronic CareLink® Network.

The Micra TPS was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2016 and has been granted Medicare reimbursement, allowing broad patient access to the novel pacing technology. Other companies have their own proprietary technology, and their leadless pacemakers will be commercially available pending FDA approval.

Memorial Resident Receives National Award for Excellence

Natalie Britt, MD, a second-year resident in Memorial Health’s family medicine residency program, is one of only 12 residents nationwide to receive the 2018 Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education. It is presented by the American Academy of Family Physicians in recognition of a resident’s excellence and commitment to patients and the specialty of family medicine.

Britt, a native of Augusta, earned her medical degree from Mercer University School of Medicine. She begins her third and final year of her family medicine residency at Memorial Health University Medical Center this summer. She and her husband, Kris, are the parents of three sons.

Of the 3,500 eligible family medicine residents, only 12 are selected for this award. Since 1952, the award has been given to recognize outstanding family medicine residents for their leadership, civic involvement, exemplary patient care and aptitude for and interest in family medicine. Winners receive a monetary scholarship and an a trip to the 2018 AAFP Family Medicine Experience in New Orleans to receive their award.

“Dr. Britt earned this recognition by working hard and staying focused on her patients,” said Robert Pallay, MD, director of family medicine residency program at Memorial Health. “She embraces the primary purpose of family medicine, which is to treat the whole person – every organ, every disease, all ages and both genders.

“What makes this award even more outstanding is that it is the second time in three years that our residency program has had a resident physician win this award,” he added. Daniel Gordon, MD, who graduated from the program in 2017, won the award in 2016.

The family medicine residency program at Memorial is one of six residency programs that train resident physicians from around the world.

Phoebe IRS 990 Filing Shows Strong Financials and Highlights Community Benefit Programs

During a meeting Thursday, the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors approved the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 for the hospital covering the 2016 tax year.  As a not-for-profit hospital, Phoebe is required to file the form each year to give the government and the public insight into its finances and benefits to the community.

The filing shows Phoebe’s total revenue was $521,230,941, an increase of nearly $5.6M over the previous year.  The hospital’s total assets increased by 1.6% while total liabilities decreased by 3.9%, resulting in net assets of $121,675,127.

“At a time when many hospitals are facing financial crises due to lack of Medicaid expansion, significant drug cost increases and statewide nursing shortages, Phoebe continues to maintain a strong balance sheet which allows us to retain excellent credit ratings,” said Phoebe Chief Financial Officer Brian Church.  “Phoebe Board members closely watch our finances to ensure we can continue our mission for years to come.  They require our leadership team to operate the hospital wisely and have done so for generations.”

The IRS 990 filing shows that in 2017, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital provided $60M worth of charity and indigent care to more than 9,000 patients.  The hospital also provided $5M in community benefit through programs such as Network of Trust, free community health fairs, indigent drug pharmacy, Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition, Southwest Georgia Council on Aging, Horizons Community Health Solutions, health screening events, education of nurses and other health professionals and support of other community organizations that improve the health and welfare of citizens.

The community benefit report, prepared in accordance with the community benefit reporting guidelines established by Catholic Health Association and VHA, shows a total community benefit of $274,098,471.  That number includes unreimbursed cost of Medicaid and Medicare services.

“Since 1911, Phoebe’s mission has been to serve southwest Georgians in need of medical care, regardless of their ability to pay,” Church said.  “We remain committed to that mission and to leading and supporting innovative efforts to improve the health and wellness of people in our region.”

Phoebe Hosts Annual Mentoring Luncheon for Local Young Males

Community male leaders gathered at the Albany James H. Gray, Sr. Civic Center yesterday to support dozens of young males from the Albany area at Phoebe’s annual Ties That Bind luncheon.

The luncheon, which started six years ago, was designed as a support system for boys whose fathers are absent from their lives. Community leaders not only share a meal with the young men but they also share a tie. “This event is about more than just giving the boys a tie. It is a great day in our community when men come together to help us mentor young men and inspire them to be the best they can be,” said Marvin Laster, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board Member.

The keynote speaker at this year’s event was Procter & Gamble Albany Plant Manager, Werhner Washington. He spoke about his successes and what three rules he lived by that helped him along the way. “There are three things in you need to do in life to be successful. The first is to show up. Whether it’s school or work, you need to show up. Second, be respectful to authority. And, the third rule is do your work,” said Washington.

Phoebe’s Network of Trust hosts the annual event. Dedicated to the betterment of our community, Network of Trust addresses positive youth outcomes academically, emotionally, and physically through a committed team of nurses and educators.

SGMC Acquires SGMC Urology

South Georgia Medical Center purchased the urological medical practice of Dr. Jacek Sosnowski and renamed it SGMC Urology. The practice will remain in its current location at 2922 North Oak Street until it can be relocated to the SGMC Main Campus.

On June 1, Board Certified Urologist Louis C. Remynse, III, MD will join Dr. Sosnowski in practice.

Dr. Remynse comes to Valdosta from Johnstown, PA where he worked for CPG Urology.  He was an active surgical staff member at Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown.  

Both Dr. Sosnowski and Dr. Remynse are experienced urologists providing clinical and surgical treatments for urological issues. Dr. Remynse is trained in robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy and will offer this procedure at SGMC.