GHA Member Hospital Happenings

Colquitt Regional Receives 8th Consecutive 'A' for Patient Safety in Spring 2018

Colquitt Regional Medical Center was one of 15 hospitals in Georgia awarded an ‘A’ for its efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S. Much like a report card, the Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms among patients in their care.

“We are always aiming to improve healthcare quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. We are thankful for organizations like The Leapfrog Group who keep us, and other hospitals accountable for patient safety. This is our 8th consecutive ‘A,’ which speaks volumes about the quality of care you will receive when you enter our facility. ‘A’s’ should no longer be a surprise, but an expectation,” said Colquitt Regional President and CEO Jim Matney.

The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the life-saving information they need to make informed decisions. “This distinction is what separates us from our competitors, and it should be taken into consideration when choosing a hospital,” said Richard Bass, Colquitt Regional Board of Trustees Chairman. “Safety scores are the primary guide for measuring standards of care in hospitals, and our consistent high ranking score should mean a great deal to our patients,” he said.

"This is the only national rating of how well hospitals protect patients from preventable harm and death, such as medical errors, infections, and injuries," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. "Receiving an ‘A’ Safety Grade means a hospital is among the best in the country for preventing these terrible problems and putting their patients first, 24 hours a day."

Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to approximately 2,500 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

To see Colquitt Regional Medical Center’s full grade details, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade on Twitter and Facebook.

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care.

Colquitt Regional Medical Center is a 151-bed capacity hospital that completed an extensive expansion and renovation in 2014. The hospital recently opened the doors to the new Edwards Cancer Center and Sterling Center Women’s Health facilities. Construction is currently underway on the 3rd floor which will allow for additional inpatient rooms and 3 new physicians are slated to join the medical staff this summer.


Houston Medical Center Receives an "A" for Patient Safety in Spring 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington D.C-based organization aiming to improve health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers, today released the new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. Houston Medical Center was one of 750 awarded an ‘A’ for its efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S. The Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms among patients in their care.

“The employees, staff and physicians at Houston Medical Center are dedicated to taking care of our patients and their family members each day,” stated Charles Briscoe, Chief Operating Officer for Houston Healthcare. “We are pleased to again be recognized with an “A” for patient safety. As healthcare continues to evolve, we must continue to provide our community and those around us with the same quality care they have come to expect. The commitment starts from our Board Members and cascades down to each person in our organization.”

“This is the only national rating of how well hospitals protect patients from preventable harm and death, such as medical errors, infections, and injuries,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Receiving an ‘A’ Safety Grade means a hospital is among the best in the country for preventing these terrible problems and putting their patients first, 24 hours a day.”


Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to approximately 2,500 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

To see Houston Medical Center’s full grade details, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade on Twitter and Facebook.


Emory to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Johns Creek

Emory Johns Creek Hospital, in partnership with the Johns Creek Police Department, is sponsoring a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Hospital officials encourage the community to participate by dropping off unused or expired medication at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. No needles or liquids will be accepted.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The report shows that many abused prescription drugs were acquired from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. 

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative helps residents properly dispose of prescription drugs to help prevent addiction and overdose deaths.

WHO: Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Johns Creek Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration

WHAT: National Prescription Take-Back Day

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WHERE: 6325 Hospital Parkway

Johns Creek, GA 30097 

(Near main entrance)

For more information, call Johns Creek Police Department at 678-474-1607.



Emory Healthcare and Walmart Collaborate on Employee Health, Spine Surgery and Joint Replacement

With a combined goal of improving the quality of patient care while lowering health care costs, Emory Healthcare and Walmart announced today the rollout of a new Accountable Care Plan (ACP) for Walmart associates in metro-Atlanta.

The companies also announced that Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH) and Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center will be included in Walmart’s National spine surgery and joint replacement surgery Centers of Excellence (COE) programs for Walmart associates in need of spine or joint care throughout the U.S. Both the ACP and the COE were effective Jan. 1, 2018.

“When Walmart approached Emory about these opportunities, we were excited to partner with Walmart, a progressive company dedicated to transforming health care and its delivery process,” says Patrick Hammond, CEO of Emory Healthcare Network. “More and more large, self-insured employers like Walmart are looking for new and creative solutions as a potential way to decrease costs of health care plans for employees, while improving the overall quality of the care. This partnership is a win-win for everyone involved.

“We are excited to add Emory to our Centers of Excellence Network and to partner with them on our new Accountable Care Plan,” says Lisa Woods, Sr. Director of Healthcare Benefits for Walmart U.S. “We continue looking for innovative ways to support our associates and ensure they receive the best and most appropriate care. Not only does Emory offer a quality provider network, but Emory has also been a great partner in supporting payment reform initiatives. We appreciate Emory’s willingness to innovate with us as we evolve our programs.”

Under the new ACP, Walmart associates at 55 Walmart, Sam’s Club and Walmart Distribution Center locations throughout metro-Atlanta will have the opportunity to select Emory Accountable Care Plan as their primary health care plan.

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are collaborations among physicians, hospitals and payers or employers that work together to align care for their patients. The ACO’s clinically integrated network of providers is instrumental in providing the most appropriate care to members enrolled in the Accountable Care Plan. The participating providers assume the accountability for improving the quality of patient care and lowering costs through better coordination and preventive care, with more proactive outreach to members.

Local Walmart associates can access care through the Emory Healthcare Network of more than 2,000 physicians geographically dispersed throughout the metro-Atlanta area. The employees will pay standard co-pays for their primary care, specialist and urgent care visits, and have access to services provided in the Centers of Excellence program. Preventive visits will be free of charge.

As part of their Centers of Excellence benefits, Walmart associates in certain locations will have access to Emory spine and joint services and its physician experts. Centers of Excellence accept a fixed bundled payment for specific procedures such as clinical evaluations and surgical procedures. Patients receive high-quality care from skilled physician experts at COEs and employers appreciate cost predictability for the care of their employees.

Under the COE program, Walmart associates enrolled in a Walmart sponsored plan will pay no out-of-pocket costs for certain spine and joint replacement surgeries at EUOSH or Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Travel-related costs to Emory will be covered by Walmart. Members enrolled in the Emory ACP will also have access to certain weight loss and cardiac surgeries at Emory under the COE benefit.

“We are excited that Walmart has chosen EUOSH and the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center as part of its Centers of Excellence program,” says Scott Boden, MD, director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and chairman of the board of directors of the Emory Healthcare Network. “Walmart’s decision recognizes that having a group of physicians, nurses and staff dedicated solely to joint replacement and spine surgery translates directly into better outcomes for their employees and families. When you have people and a facility that focus on performing just one or two areas of surgery, it allows you to achieve efficiencies and results that are difficult to achieve in a conventional hospital setting.”

“We welcome this partnership with Walmart and are proud to extend our comprehensive services throughout metro Atlanta to its associates,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Emory Healthcare.   


Northside Hospital Cherokee Expands Surgery Services With New Outpatient Center in Woodstock

Northside Hospital Cherokee has completed its latest ‘operation’ with the opening of a new outpatient surgery center in the Northside/Towne Lake Medical Office Building, located off Towne Lake Pkwy. The center opened March 13 and offers outpatient surgical care across multiple specialties including orthopedics, general, ophthalmology and ENT.

Since the new Northside Hospital Cherokee opened May 6, 2017, outpatient surgeries at the Canton campus have increased by 14 percent.

“Opening the new surgery center in Towne Lake allows us to meet the growing health care demand in the region and make Northside’s high-level surgical services more convenient for our patients and surgeons in south Cherokee and Cobb counties,” said Katie Pearson, director of operations, Northside Hospital Cherokee.

Northside Hospital is one of Georgia’s top providers of surgery services. New facilities and advances in surgical technology allow the hospital to stay at the forefront of medicine and devote more time to providing the best patient care possible and enable physicians to offer better outcomes and less-invasive surgery options to patients.

The 18,000-square-foot Northside/Towne Lake Outpatient Surgery Center features private pre-operative rooms, three spacious operating rooms and an additional procedure room for ophthalmology procedures. Approximately 25-30 new positions are being created to staff the new facility.

“It’s a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility and one that I know is going to appeal to many surgeons like myself,” said Grant Wolfe, M.D., general surgeon, Northside Cherokee Surgical Associates. “I’m excited to be able to offer my patients a more convenient location for their surgeries and I am looking forward to performing many more procedures here.”

In addition to the outpatient surgery center, the Northside/Towne Lake Medical Office Building houses a wide variety of outpatient health care services and physician practices, representing numerous medical specialties including primary care, cardiology, surgery, ENT and urology. Northside Hospital services include a full-service imaging center, laboratory services and an urgent care.

With the addition of the new Northside/Towne Lake Outpatient Surgery Center, Northside now offers inpatient and outpatient surgical care throughout the Atlanta Region – in Towne Lake, Canton, Alpharetta, Cumming and Sandy Springs.  For more information, visit www.northside.com.


Free Childbirth Class Offered Saturday, May 5 at Wayne Memorial Hospital

A free class on childbirth is offered at Wayne Memorial Hospital Saturday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria conference room. This class is ideal for those expectant mothers 25 weeks pregnant or later by the class date. Those interested in registering may do so by calling (912) 530-3118 or (912) 530-3117.

Topics of the class will include the normal process of pregnancy, labor and delivery with an emphasis on conscious prepared childbirth. Stress is placed on a medically safe delivery in the hospital under the direction of a physician. Additional topics covered are infant care and infant feeding. Attendees are encouraged to invite a support person to the class.

Wayne Memorial Hospital, whose mission is to provide high quality health care services to all patients, built a state-of-the-art facility in 2007. It is the third largest employer in Wayne County with 500 employees, 84 beds and is a two-time winner of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals Small Hospital of the Year Award. 


Hospice to Celebrate Life at Candlelight Memorial Service

A candlelight memorial service honoring patients and families served by Heyman HospiceCare at Floyd will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 8. The event will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 911 N. Broad St.

“Heyman HospiceCare provides the memorial program as a community service and it’s an opportunity for individuals in the community as well as families of our hospice patients to come together to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost,” said Casey Blankenship, Heyman HospiceCare Program Director.

Blankenship said the memorial service also offers an opportunity for family members to reconnect with hospice staff and volunteers.

The event will include a brief word of prayer and music. A reception in the parish hall will follow the service. Parking will be available behind the church. For more information, call 706.509.3200. Seating is limited; no reservations are required.


Navicent Health Black Belt Improves Blood Draw Procedures, Reduces Costs


ISE Magazine recently published the work of Paul Barkley, Black Belt and Director of Operations for Navicent Health Baldwin. The study, entitled “Six Sigma Sticks Patients Less,” details Barkley’s Six Sigma Black Belt capstone project, which improved emergency department processes for drawing blood cultures.

Barkley’s project, which began in late 2014, focused on improving successful blood culture draw rates through process standardization and Lean efficiency. Through implementation, the Emergency Department at The Medical Center, Navicent Health – which performs an average 10,000 blood cultures annually – was able to improve its rates of successful blood draws, with less reliance on redraws.

“Improving our blood draw process through the tenants of Six Sigma was a win for patients, as well as the emergency department and our health system. Many patients fear needles, and if there is a problem with the initial blood collection, repeated cultures annoy the patient while also consuming staff time and resources. By improving our process, we are creating a better experience for the patient while also reducing costs to the health system,” said Barkley.

Navicent Health implemented Lean/Six Sigma, a highly disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating waste, improving outcomes, and delivering extraordinary service, in 2014. Barkley, who served as Operations Manager of Laboratory Services and other leadership positions at The Medical Center, Navicent Health for the past 26 years, now serves as Director of Operations for Navicent Health Baldwin in Milledgeville, Ga. Barkley earned his MBA from Mercer University, undergraduate degrees from Georgia Southern University and Augusta University, and is a registered Medical Technologist with the American Society for Clinical Pathology. He is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

“Lean Six Sigma is applicable to global industries ranging from auto manufacturing and defense to healthcare. The unique aspect of Lean Six Sigma in healthcare is that process improvement directly improves people’s health and wellbeing. As exhibited in this study, Lean Six Sigma improves patient care while saving time and resources. Black Belts at Navicent Health are continually seeking new avenues for implementation as we improve our processes. Efforts such as these are core to the work we are doing at Navicent Health, and will be critical in helping our health system – as well as many others nationwide – prepare for future relevance and value-based care,” said Dr. Ninfa M. Saunders, President and CEO of Navicent Health.

Barkley’s project has been expanded beyond the Emergency Center at The Medical Center, Navicent Health and implemented in other departments throughout the health system. The study may be replicated in other healthcare facilities, directly impacting the industry.

To view Barkley’s article, please click here. ISE Magazine is a monthly publication of the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers and serves a diverse readership of professionals and students with a common interest of industrial engineering. As a leading voice in the industry, ISE Magazine strives to provide useful, timely and thought-provoking content to assist readers as they enhance their professional capabilities, improve organizational performance and develop the profession.


Optim Health System hires Chief Nursing Officer after nationwide search

Lora Duncan, MSN, RN, MBA, has been named Chief Nursing Officer for Optim Health System, a collaboration of Optim Imaging, Optim Therapy, Optim Surgery Center, Optim Medical Center-Screven, and the physician-owned Optim Medical Center-Tattnall. She was selected for the position following a nationwide search and will have oversight of all nursing practice and development.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lora to our leadership team,” said David Castleberry, CEO of Optim Health System. “I’m confident with her wealth of experience she’ll enhance our nursing practice in continuing to deliver compassionate care to our patients.”

Most recently, Duncan was Director of Nursing Practice and Professional Development at Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, W.Va., a healthcare system that consists of four acute care hospitals with a total of 908 beds. In this position, she was responsible for providing strategic leadership and overall guidance to the system’s clinical practice and nursing service areas. Her scope of responsibility included more than 10,000 nursing professionals and coordination with 25 managers. She also served as the medical center’s nursing informatics specialist.

“I’m honored to be a part of the Optim team,” said Duncan. “It’s been obvious from the start that employees at all levels are excited and proud of their areas.  Everyone here is constantly looking for ways to improve and grow.”

Duncan earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from West Virginia University and her Master of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Strayer University.

She and her husband, Craig, are enjoying getting to know the Savannah area and exploring its sights and culture. The couple has two daughters; one is a teacher in Marietta and the other is a nurse who will relocate to Savannah in the near future.


Local Partnerships Encourage Youth to be Heart Healthy


South Georgia Medical Center and the American Heart Association held a recognition lunch for local elementary school physical education teachers to thank them for their efforts in this year's Jump Rope for Heart campaign.


According to AHA Vice President of the Youth Market Kimberly Dixon, the combined Lowndes County and Valdosta City elementary schools raised in excess of $55,000. That money could potentially fund two $25,000 research grants.


As this year's corporate sponsor, SGMC hosted a lunch to thank the PE teachers who volunteer to spearhead the JRFH programs at their schools. SGMC presented Westside Elementary with $1,500 for raising the most money, then randomly selected four other elementary schools to receive a $250 donation, which were: WG Nunn, JL Lomax, Pine Grove and Lake Park.


SGMC Chief Operating Officer David Schott applauded the commitment and achievement of the JRFH volunteers.


"Instilling healthy habits early in a child's life is critical to maintaining and supporting a healthy lifestyle in the future," said Schott. "SGMC is honored to partner with the American Heart Association and our local elementary schools to make this happen."


JRFH is a national education and fundraising event that promotes heart-healthy habits and being physically active.