Category Archives: Uncategorized A Special Kind of Cupid 2:51 pm

​Until last November, Gene and Jane Mitchell, married for 51 years, had seldom been apart. Their union has produced four children, 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a legacy of togetherness that was abruptly interrupted by an automobile wreck last year.

Mrs. Mitchell was admitted to Floyd Medical Center at a time when COVID-19 numbers were rising and hospital visits were limited to help protect individuals like the Mitchells, who were at risk of severe complications should they contract the virus.

The Mitchells were able to celebrate the big holidays together as she recuperated first on Floyd’s Inpatient Rehabilitation floor and later at Polk Medical Center’s Subacute Care unit, with Mr. Mitchell driving daily from Shannon to Cedartown to visit with his wife, but Mrs. Mitchell’s injuries eventually required her to be transferred to a nursing home. COVID-19 quarantines and strict visitation rules meant that, for the first time in their long marriage, Gene and Jane couldn’t be together.

As January gave way to February, the outlook for spending Valentine’s Day together didn’t look too promising. But, a need for additional surgery, a new visitation policy and the thoughtfulness of a Floyd employee, conspired to reunite the couple just in time for that very special couple’s day.

Jane was readmitted to Floyd’s orthopaedic nursing floor on Friday, Feb. 12 for tendon repairs, and Gene could at long last join his wife at her hospital bedside. Tammy Hanks, a unit secretary cross-trained as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), quickly made friends with the couple, learned their story and saw an opportunity to play a special kind of Cupid role this Valentine’s Day. She enlisted a co-worker to stage a conversation outside Mrs. Mitchell’s door with singular goal in mind.

Tammy and her co-worker talked about Valentine’s Day and discussed where their significant others should take them out to eat. Professing unfamiliarity with restaurants in the area, Tammy asked Mr. Mitchell where they should go. He suggested Outback Steakhouse – the final piece of information Tammy needed to execute her plan.

Determined to make Valentine’s Day special for the reunited couple, she arranged for a steak dinner and a signature appetizer to be delivered to their hospital room on Valentine’s Day.

The Mitchells were overjoyed and completely surprised by Tammy’s efforts on their behalf. They rang the nurse call light when they had finished their meal and told Tammy they needed some help. She went to check on the couple, whose “need” was to tell her they had thoroughly enjoyed their meal and to express their appreciation for her extra special effort to help them to celebrate their 51st Valentine’s Day together.


Hamilton Medical Center recognized for quality medical excellence, patient safety 2:28 pm

Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) was recently recognized for medical excellence and patient safety quality by CareChex®. HMC was ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation in four categories for 2021.

The awards are based on a comprehensive quality scoring system that compares inpatient quality performance across general, acute and non-federal U.S. hospitals.

For Medical Excellence, HMC was recognized in the following categories:


For Patient Safety, HMC was recognized in the following categories:

Since 2009, Quantros has compiled the CareChex ratings to provide an objective quality review of all hospitals and health systems in America, with ratings for Safety and overall Medical Excellence at the national, state and regional level. The CareChex awards are based on a rigorous review of patient complications, readmissions, mortality, AHRQ patient safety indicators and inpatient quality indicators.

The vast data sets don’t include any self-reported or survey data, and results are tested for statistical significance, resulting in clearer, more accurate performance differentiation across 39 clinical categories in both Medical Excellence and Patient Safety.

Hamilton Medical Center offering new COVID-19 treatment to qualified patients to make hospital admission less likely 8:49 pm

A new COVID-19 treatment, bamlanivimab, that recently began being offered by Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) may help certain patients from developing a more severe case of the disease.

The research so far shows that for certain people, taking this drug may help limit the amount of virus in the body. This may help their symptoms improve sooner — and they may be less likely to need to go to the hospital.


“We’re excited to be offering this treatment,” said Lee Connor, MD, infectious disease specialist. “It can be a life saver for certain patients and provides a greater chance for them to recover at home. It also could help Hamilton by helping curb the influx of COVID patients coming to the hospital with severe disease and requiring admission.”


The drug uses monoclonal antibodies, laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens, such as viruses.


A new clinic for monoclonal antibody infusion has been set up in an unused space in the Burkett Building, next to the hospital. Patients enter through a dedicated entrance and do not enter the hospital to receive the treatment.


Bamlanivimab is a neutralizing antibody drug. When there’s a virus in your body, like COVID-19, your immune system makes antibodies to fight it off. But it takes time for your body to make antibodies when a new virus is present — and in the meantime, you could become very sick.


Bamlanivimab contains man-made antibodies that are similar to the antibodies of patients who recovered from COVID-19. Scientists believe that these antibodies may help limit the amount of virus in your body. This could give your body more time to learn how to make its own antibodies. Bamlanivimab does not have any COVID-19 virus in it.


The treatments are given to high-risk COVID-19 patients, which includes people who are at least 65 years old and those who have medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease or cancer. The treatment must be given within 7 days of first symptom, and the earlier the better.


A doctor referral is needed, and all appointments for the clinic are scheduled, no walk ins.



Bamlanivimab is an investigational medicine, authorized for emergency use by the FDA. There is a vast supply of the drug. It is not authorized for the treatment of patients who are already hospitalized due to COVID-19 or require oxygen therapy as a result of the disease, according to the FDA.


At this time, the federal government is distributing antibody supplies at no cost to patients. However, insurance is billed to cover the cost of administering the drug.


If you think you might qualify, talk with your doctor to decide if this treatment is right for you.


“Though these treatments are available, vaccines remain the best hope to ‘burn out’ the pandemic,” said Connor.  “But that will require 70-80 percent of the population to be vaccinated, and those who have already had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. When it’s available for you, I encourage you to take it. It’s very safe and very effective.


Connor also said that masks, social distancing, frequent handwashing and avoiding large group gatherings are still extremely important to keep the virus under control.




St. Joseph’s/Candler, Savannah-area churches begin vaccinations in underserved communities 2:31 pm Georgia Trend honors Veazey as ‘Notable Georgian’ 2:17 pm

Georgia Trend magazine recognized Tifton’s Monty Veazey, the CEO of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, as one of its 60 “Notable Georgians” for 2021 in its January issue.


“I’m honored to have my name mentioned alongside so many great Georgians who have accomplished so much for our state,” Veazey said. “I’m incredibly lucky to work every day with dedicated healthcare professional at community hospitals. They’ve always played a critical role in keeping Georgians – and our economy – healthy, but the stresses and demands of this pandemic have brought their sacrificial service into sharp focus.


“I appreciate Georgia Trend for bringing attention to the work that we are doing together because the hospitals that I represent are critical to their communities. We all have a role to play in protecting our community hospitals because they’re the only providers that are there for our families 24/7, whatever your healthcare needs are.”


Georgia Trend’s publisher said healthcare workers deserve special recognition for their front line roles in the fight against COVID.


“Narrowing down the list of 100 Most Influential Georgians and Notable Georgians is never easy thanks to the wealth of talent in the state,” said Ben Young, publisher and editor-in-chief of Georgia Trend. “With the ongoing pandemic, though, it just made sense this year honor our healthcare workers on Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians and Notable Georgians lists. We are so grateful for the outstanding commitment shown by the healthcare community and could think of no more deserving sector for recognition.”


Georgia Alliance Adds Trio of Hospital Executives to Leadership Posts 2:09 pm

The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals announced today that it’s added a trio of Georgia hospital executives to leadership posts. Daniel Owens, CEO of the Emory University Hospitals in Midtown and Smyrna, has joined the Alliance’s Executive Committee, and Darcy Craven, CEO of Archbold Medical Center in Thomasville, and Ronald Dean, CEO of South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, have joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors.


“Like healthcare professionals all across Georgia, these leaders have shown vision, grit and determination to serve the healthcare needs of their respective communities during a pandemic that has stressed the resources of hospitals all across our nation,” said Monty Veazey, the CEO of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals. “They experience firsthand every day how healthcare policies affect their patients, access to care and the financial sustainability of hospitals that our communities rely on to protect Georgians’ health and lives. Daniel, Darcy and Ronald bring knowledge and passion to our mission, and I appreciate their willingness to serve in these capacities.”


Owens has worked in numerous healthcare positions at Emory since graduating from the university 27 years ago, rising through the ranks to become CEO of two Emory hospitals. In addition to his career, Owens is an active member of the Central Atlanta Progress Board, Georgia Hospital Association Board of Trustees, Midtown Alliance Board, Atlanta Heart Walk Board and a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club.


“It is an honor to be nominated to serve on the Executive Committee of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals,” said Owens. “Being able to work with such talented leaders across the great state of Georgia to improve lives and provide hope for the communities that we all serve is a great privilege. I look forward to charting a vision with my colleagues that will improve healthcare for all Georgians.”


Craven became president and CEO of Archbold Medical Center in August 2020. He came to Thomasville from Buffalo, N.Y., where he was the president of a health system that ran several hospitals in Western New York State. Though a native of Winnipeg, Canada, and a graduate of the University of Manitoba, he’s not new to the South, having served as leader of a health system in Florence, S.C., from 2010-16.


I’m excited to serve on the board for the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals and in that role work together with hospital leaders from across the state to improve the health and well-being of  our communities,” Craven said.


The Hospital Authority of Lowndes County and Valdosta named Dean as CEO of South Georgia Medical Center in August 2019. The Dothan, Ala., native came to Valdosta after a stint as CEO of the Troy Regional Medical Center. He spent 33 years at the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in his hometown, finishing out his time there as vice president for operations.


“I am pleased to be nominated to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals,” said Dean. “Georgia Hospitals and Health systems share in a common goal of serving the health and wellness needs of Georgians across the state. The GACH serves a vital role in promoting this very important mission.”

Northside BMT Program ‘significantly’ exceeds expected survival for 12th consecutive year 3:40 pm

For a 12th consecutive year, The Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program at Northside Hospital has been recognized as having among the very best survival outcomes in the United States for bone marrow transplants.


The data were provided by the Centers for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) in their Final 2020 Transplant Center Survival Report, which tabulated patient survival following transplantation at 172 adult and pediatric transplant centers in the U.S.


Patients who received their first allogeneic transplant between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2018 using unrelated or related donors and who had reported follow-up were analyzed. Each center’s survival was compared to average national survival data and then statistically designated as either superior to, matching or inferior to expectations.


The one-year survival of patients transplanted at Northside was 80.8%. Northside is the only center in Georgia to achieve outcomes statistically superior to expectations and is one of only 17 centers in the U.S. to achieve this status; it also is the only center in the U.S. to achieve superior outcomes for the last 12 consecutive annual reporting cycles.


“This unmatched result of 12 consecutive years of survival outcomes that exceed expectations on the national standardized comparison of transplant centers is an astonishing achievement for Northside Hospital and for Georgia, and is an indication that patients receive the very best transplant care here,” said Dr Asad Bashey, director of clinical research for The BMT Program at Northside Hospital.


“The BMT Program at Northside Hospital is the largest allogeneic transplant center in Georgia,” added Dr. Bashey. “However, success is not just a result of our size, but of the level of expertise of our clinical teams, our dedicated state-of-the-art facilities, and the innovative policies and procedures at our center that are focused singularly at providing the very best results possible following transplantation.”


Patient-focused care, innovative treatments and clinical research utilizing cutting-edge treatments that are not generally available are major components of The BMT Program at Northside Hospital. The BMT Program offers chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy and other immunotherapy treatments, including novel clinical research trials, and recently began studying an investigational treatment that uses convalescent plasma in patients currently fighting COVID-19. Northside also has pioneered the use of outpatient management even for the most complex transplant procedures and the safe use of alternative donors when conventional donors may not be available.


Learn more about The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Northside Hospital.

SGMC Birthplace Adds New Camera System to Connect Families with Newborns 2:05 pm

The Birthplace at South Georgia Medical Center recently installed 32 live-streaming video cameras to keep parents and family members connected to their newborns. The cameras, located across various departments including Labor and Delivery, Nursery, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Surgery and select Post Partum rooms, are part of a platform known as AngelEye Health.


AngelEye includes advanced camera technology, a Patient Update App that allows clinicians to send text, photo and recorded video, and an Online Education Resource to ensure a successful transition home. 


This is especially beneficial for parents with babies in the NICU. Leaving a newborn at the hospital can be very challenging for working parents and remote families. Virtual care technology can make a big difference in allowing parents 24/7 access to their newborn ensuring more effective collaboration between care teams and families. 


“Parents tell us that this is the next best thing to being there and really reduces anxiety as they can check in whenever they want,” says Peggy Knight, RN, Director of Women’s and Infants Services. 


Using the camera technology, parents and other family members can log on through a secure network with a personal password so they can see their baby at any time on their phone, computer, or tablet.


AngelEye was designed by clinicians to improve the efficiency of critical care workflows, resulting in improved communication and collaboration between families and care teams.  The innovative system delivers on the promise of family-centered care.


SGMC is one of only three hospitals in Georgia to offer Angel Eye Health. SGMC’s Birthplace has the region’s only Level IIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with two neonatologists and the area’s only OB hospitalist program and OB emergency department. SGMC is committed to women’s health throughout the region and is excited to deploy the latest technology and continue developing cutting edge programs for women and infants. 


For more information, visit

Hamilton Medical Center receives national recognition for support of perioperative nursing certification 8:19 pm

Hamilton Medical Center recently earned the CNOR® Strong designation from the Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI). The Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) credential is the only accredited certification for perioperative registered nurses. Earning the CNOR is a mark of distinction and demonstrates a commitment to upholding the highest standards in patient safety.


The CNOR Strong designation is awarded annually to facilities that achieve at least a 50 percent certification rate in their eligible perioperative nursing staff and consistently recognize and reward nurses who become certified perioperative nurse (CNOR) certified or complete recertification.


The CNOR certification program is for perioperative nurses interested in improving and validating their knowledge and skills and providing the highest quality care to their patients. Certification also recognizes a nurse’s commitment to professional development. It is an objective, measurable way of acknowledging the achievement of specialty knowledge beyond basic nursing preparation and RN licensure.


Research shows that nurses who earn the CNOR credential have greater confidence in their clinical practice. Thus, a team of certified nurses who have mastered the standards of perioperative practice provides even more empowerment, further advancing a culture of professionalism and promoting improved patient outcomes. This strength in numbers is why CCI launched the CNOR Strong program; to recognize those facilities committed to making a difference for patients both inside and outside of the operating room.


“Patient safety and positive surgical outcomes are very important to Hamilton,” said Kimberly Jones, RN, MSN, CNOR, Surgical Services educator. “Supporting nurses to exceed expectations and achieve perioperative nursing certification shows Hamilton’s commitment to these core values.”


The Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) has been the leader in perioperative certification for more than 40 years, certifying over 40,000 nurses internationally. An industry leader in nursing competency assessment, CCI is the credentialing body for the CNOR, Certified Surgical Services Manager (CSSM), and Certified Perioperative CNS (CNS-CP) credentials.



St. Mary’s achieves accreditation for echocardiology procedures 5:11 pm

St. Mary’s Cardiac and Vascular Services Laboratory has achieved accreditation from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) on Echocardiography for procedures that use sound waves to detect and diagnose numerous heart conditions. With this accreditation, St. Mary’s becomes one of only a handful of providers in Georgia accredited for adult Transesophageal Echo (TEE) procedures.

“This accreditation is a huge achievement,” said echo lead technologist Jennifer Helton. “The standards for quality, training and equipment set by the IAC are very high and the process to earn accreditation is rigorous. I’m extremely proud of our colleagues and medical staff for their dedication to providing our patients with top quality care.”


Echocardiography – often known as “echo” – is used to assess the heart and surrounding blood vessels, using painless sound waves and the echoes they create instead of radiation. It can detect heart disease or signs of serious heart conditions. St. Mary’s equipment uses 3D Doppler technology that provides vital information about the motion of heart muscle and blood flow. Among the many capabilities of echo are measuring how well heart muscle contracts to pump blood, how well the heart’s valves work, and how well blood flows into and out of the heart.


“There are many factors that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on echocardiography,” the IAC says. “The training and experience of the sonographer performing the procedure, the type of equipment used, and the quality assessment metrics each facility is required to measure all contribute to a positive patient outcome. IAC accreditation is a ‘seal of approval’ that patients can rely on as an indicator of consistent quality care and a dedication to continuous improvement.”


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 800,000 Americans die each year from cardiovascular disease, roughly one person every 40 seconds.


St. Mary’s accreditation specifically is for adult transthoracic and transesophageal procedures.


Transthoracic procedures send sound waves and receive their echoes through a handheld transducer that can be moved over the surface of the chest.


Transesophageal procedures also use sound waves and their echoes, but the transducer is positioned inside the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, under moderate sedation. The advantage of transesophageal procedures is that the esophagus lies close to the heart and there is no interference from the bones of the chest and back. These factors allow for improved diagnostic accuracy with better visualization of the heart valves.


“Echo is an invaluable tool in assessing patients for heart tissue damage, valve disorders and other issues that compromise cardiac function,” said Erick Avelar, St. Mary’s medical director of advanced cardiac imaging. “I am so proud of our Cardiac and Vascular Services team for achieving continued accreditation in transthoracic echo and our first accreditation for transesophageal echo.”


About IAC

The IAC is a nonprofit organization in operation to evaluate and accredit facilities that provide diagnostic imaging and intervention-based procedures, thus improving the quality of patient care provided in private offices, clinics and hospitals where such services are performed. The IAC provides accreditation programs for vascular testing, echocardiography, nuclear/PET, MRI, diagnostic CT, dental CT, carotid stenting, vein treatment and management, cardiac electrophysiology and cardiovascular catheterization. The IAC programs for accreditation are dedicated to ensuring quality patient care and promoting health care and all support one common mission: Improving health care through accreditation®. Committed to its mission through a rigorous peer review process, the IAC has granted accreditation to more than 14,000 sites since its inception in 1991. To learn more about IAC, visit


About St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s Health Care System, a member of Trinity Health, is a faith-based, not-for-profit health care ministry whose mission is to be a compassionate and transforming healing presence in the communities it serves. St. Mary’s puts special focus on neurosciences, cardiac care, orthopedics, general medicine, general surgery, women’s and children’s health, and care for older adults. St. Mary’s includes hospitals in Athens, Lavonia and Greensboro, as well as a multi-practice medical group, a retirement community, outpatient care facilities, graduate medical education, and a region-wide home health care/hospice service. St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens is a certified chest pain center, a gold-plus hospital for stroke care, and has been named Georgia’s Large Hospital of the Year multiple times. For more information, visit St. Mary’s website at




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