As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is reminding people it’s safe to go to the doctor and encouraging you to not delay care. In addition to traditional physician visits, urgent care and emergency care, patients can now receive care from trusted physicians on your cell phone or tablet.

“We are still seeing patients delay their care, and that’s causing unnecessary complications,” said Mohak Davé, medical director of Emergency Services at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). “Regardless of how many COVID-19 patients are in the hospital, the Emergency Department is the best place to be if you’re experiencing anything that you think might be life-threatening. The worst thing you can do is stay home and hope it goes away.”

            Even if you don’t need emergency care, there’s no need to put off routine check-ups or care for minor illnesses. To help patients get care no matter where they are, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) continues to offer three ways of digitally connecting with a care provider:

 “Some patients are still uncomfortable entering a healthcare facility,” said Sakib Maya, MD, medical director for Urgent Care services for NGPG. “The good news is, we now have a variety of ways for everyone to get the care they need from wherever they are.”

For more information about these services and to schedule an appointment, visit


Tanner Women’s Care, Community Partners Launch ‘Better Birth Days’ Campaign To Keep Region’s Moms and Their Babies Safe and Healthy 2:14 pm

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Tanner Women’s Care and several community partners are launching a new effort to keep moms and their babies safe and healthy.


The new public awareness campaign, “Better Birth Days,” will provide education on the potential life-threatening health risks and complications for moms during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum — especially among Black and Latina women.


Tanner is partnering with the Carroll County Health Department, the Pregnancy Resource Center, first responders and the faith-based Black and Latina communities — among other organizations — to reach more at-risk moms and their loved ones to build awareness of these risks and the importance of immediate medical intervention to save lives.


The outreach leverages Tanner’s extensive care footprint in the region, the expertise and passion of its medical team for caring for moms and their babies, and an extensive network of existing community relationships established through Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well to improve health outcomes in the communities Tanner serves.


“Pregnancy, birth and postpartum complications, like pre-eclampsia, blood clots and strokes, can occur in any woman — including those under a doctor’s care — and we know Black and Latina moms face a higher risk. The death of one mom is one too many,” said Megan Grilliot, MD, a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology specialist with Tanner Healthcare for Women. “A woman who is aware of her risks and understands the importance of prompt medical attention is better prepared and likely to have a better outcome.”


A Growing Maternal Health Concern

National, state and local statistics indicate a growing maternal health concern, according to Dr. Grilliot:


Symptoms to Watch For

Dr. Grilliot advises pregnant or new moms — and those who love them — to be alert to the symptoms that signal potentially life-threatening complications and seek immediate medical attention at their closest emergency department. These symptoms include:


“Women are vulnerable to potential complications during pregnancy and the 12 months that follow,” said Dr. Grilliot. “New moms are often so focused on their newborns and the demands of feeding, diapering and perhaps caring for older siblings, too, that they may overlook symptoms they are experiencing that can signal trouble and require immediate attention. These serious, life-threatening conditions do not go away if ignored. Prompt intervention saves lives. Mothers need the support of their partners, other mothers, grandmothers and friends to make sure they recognize when they might be in trouble.”

Information for Better Birth Days will be available in both English and Spanish, provided to community partners like the Carroll County Health Department, the Pregnancy Resource Centers in Carrollton and Haralson counties, and Baby Braves in Heard County. Materials will also be available at Tanner locations to facilitate outreach.


The Carroll County Health Department will provide Better Birth Days materials in information bundles for women with newly confirmed pregnancies as they identify their healthcare providers for their prenatal, delivery and postpartum care and sign-up for maternity and children’s benefits.

“Information is power for these women who are just beginning their pregnancy journey and are anxious to make the right choices to keep themselves and their unborn babies safe and healthy,” said nurse manager Cindy Moore, RN, with the Carroll County Health Department. “Better Birth Days is consistent with our mission.”


The Pregnancy Resource Center also believes the program will help more women achieve healthy pregnancies, deliveries and post-partum recoveries.


“Reaching pregnant moms early in their pregnancy is critical to helping them understand how to care for themselves throughout their pregnancy and beyond,” said Karmen Stamps, executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center. “We will leverage Better Birth Days materials in our interactions with expecting and new moms to make them aware of potential risks and what they need to do, so they can enjoy many happy birthdays with their babies.”


Watch the Better Birth Days video:


Learn more about Better Birth Days now:


Learn more about Tanner Women’s Care.

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Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has received initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for its OB/GYN residency program.

This is NGMC’s sixth Graduate Medical Education (GME) program to receive initial accreditation, following the announcement in April that the Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry residency programs have been accredited.

“The OB/GYN residency program is an integral part of state-wide efforts to improve the quality and access of women’s care in Georgia,” said John E. Delzell, Jr., MD, MSPH, FAAFP, vice president of Medical Education for Northeast Georgia Health System and Designated Institutional Official for NGMC. “Now, as our sixth residency program is accredited, we can’t wait to get started with the recruitment of excellent physicians so we can care for women for generations to come.”

NGMC anticipates interviewing approximately 200 OB/GYN residency candidates from October 2021 through January 2022. Six residents will match with NGMC through the National Residency Matching Program in March 2022, and they will begin their first day of residency on July 1, 2022. Residents will train for four years at NGMC.

“This accreditation comes after months of hard work from our entire team,” said Francis Nuthalapaty, MD, OB/GYN program director. “Our mission is to educate and support a diverse group of residents by creating a learning environment centered on developing exemplary professional character, exercising intellectual curiosity, and engaging with the community in which our residents live, learn and serve. I’m very excited to be a part of this important work.”

The OB/GYN residency program at NGMC received ACGME accreditation by successfully completing surveys that include evaluations of program personnel, faculty, institutional safety and quality metrics, curriculum, the learning and working environment and more.

By 2024, all six specialties; internal medicine, general surgery, family medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry and OB/GYN, could host more than 200 residents—which would make the program one of the largest in the state of Georgia.

For more information about NGMC’s OB/GYN residency program, visit


Sacred Heart Hospital receives second consecutive Leapfrog ‘A’ safety grade 5:40 pm

St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital was awarded an ‘A’ in the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Gradea national distinction recognizing Sacred Heart’s achievements  protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care – the hospital’s second consecutive ‘A’ safety grade

The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety. The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to all general hospitals across the country and is updated every six months. It is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospitals’ prevention of medical errors and other harms to patients in their care.

“To receive a Leapfrog safety grade of ‘A’ for one grading period is excellent, but to maintain that level of safety for two consecutive grading periods – a full year – is truly exceptional,” said Sacred Heart Hospital President Jeff English. “I could not be prouder of our colleagues and providers and the dedication they demonstrate day-in and day-out to the safety of our patients.”


“An ‘A’ safety grade is an elite designation that your community should be proud of,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “The past year has been extraordinarily difficult for hospitals, but St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital shows us it is possible to keep a laser focus on patients and their safety, no matter what it takes.”


Developed under the guidance of a national Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,700 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.


To see Sacred Heart Hospital’s full grade details and access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter and Facebook.



About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information, they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents and infections.


About St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital

St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital is a not-for-profit community hospital serving the greater Franklin County area. Located in Lavonia, Ga., just off I-85, Sacred Heart is part of St. Mary’s Health Care System, a member of Trinity Health. It is accredited by The Joint Commission and guided by the Mission of Trinity Health to be a compassionate and transforming healing presence within the community. Sacred Heart Hospital provides emergency care, inpatient care, critical care, surgical services, a mother/baby unit, numerous outpatient services and a wellness center. St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital is designated by the State of Georgia as a Remote Treatment Stroke Center.


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SGMC Employee Donates Kidney to Save a Life 1:15 pm

In 2017, Timothy Daugherty started having sudden attacks of pain in his feet. The pain was persistent and after a few months Tim decided it was time to see a doctor. A blood test was administered and when the results came back he was diagnosed with stage 3, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), kidney disease.


FSGS occurs when the kidneys develop scar tissue that begins to impact the filters within the kidneys. When these filters do not function properly impurities are not removed from the blood and protein starts to enter the urine. There are several treatments options, but the more severe cases require a kidney transplant.


“I was shocked when they told me I would need a kidney transplant. It felt like a nightmare,” said Tim.


At only 28 years old, Tim had a wife, Stevie, and together they had two small daughters Teagan and Hayden.


“I just tried to stay positive for my family. I didn’t want them to know how it really made me feel,” shared Tim. “Not a lot scared me, but this did.


Desperate to find a donor, Tim posted shared his story across social media and on local billboards. However, it was his wife, a surgical technician at South Georgia Medical Center, who would come home with news about her co-worker that would change his life forever.


When Rebecca (Becky) Smith, a fellow surgical technician at SGMC and Health Services Management Technician at the 476th Aerospace Medical Flight at Moody Air Force Base, learned about her friend Stevie’s husband and his condition she wanted to help.


“In April of 2020, I made the choice to get tested to see if I could be a kidney donor. I was already a blood match and after multiple tests, it was determined I was a full match for Tim,” explained Becky.


Tim stayed positive and had faith that something good was going to come soon. About a month after Becky got tested, Tim received a call from Emory hospital explaining that Becky was a complete match.


Tim exclaimed, “I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me. I couldn’t believe it. This woman didn’t know me from Adam and was about to donate her kidney to me.”


Initially, Becky had some concerns regarding her ability to continue her career in the Air Force and the possibility of her own remaining kidney failing in the future. But she chose to move forward in the donation process despite the unknown.


On March 5, 2021, nearly five years after his diagnosis, Tim and Becky underwent the surgery for the kidney transplant.


The physician and team at Emory checked on the two patients every few hours to ensure they were doing alright after the procedure. The surgery was a success and all of Tim’s levels were perfect.

Tim was beyond grateful, stating, “Becky was a blessing sent from God. She will never know how much my family and I appreciate her for going through what she did.”


“The truth is, it didn’t really hit me that I was saving a life until I saw Tim after the surgery,” said Becky.


Becky had always been a registered organ donor, but never imagined it would happen while she was living.


“Despite my initial concerns, I didn’t hesitate in my decision,” said Becky. “I will never regret the choice I made. I not only gave Tim a chance to live his life, but also gave Stevie her husband, and their children a father without the worries of what would happen if Tim’s condition worsened.”


Tim’s advice for those who find themselves in similar situations and need a transplant— have faith.


“You are allowed to scream about it and  you’re allowed to cry about it, but never give up. Have faith in God. Your time will come. Be patient and stay positive,” said Tim.


April is National Donate Life Month where people are encouraged to register as organ donors and help save the lives of others like Tim.


Organ donation, with the primary exception of living kidney donation, occurs after someone has died from an injury that results in brain death. Ninety percent of people say they would be an organ donor but unfortunately, only 30 percent of those are actually registered.


One donor can save eight lives and improve the lives of dozens more. To become a registered organ and tissue donor today, visit

SGMC Launches Kindness Campaign 2:26 pm

It’s been said that kindness is the best medicine. With the past year being particularly challenging for health care professionals, South Georgia Medical Center is launching a campaign asking the community to help spread kindness among its team members.  


The campaign features a video of healthcare employees taking a moment to thank a fellow team member who made an impact on their life over the last year. The video ends with a call to action, to give a dose of kindness.   


“Each and every day, our doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, and staff work hard to provide extraordinary care with human kindness,” said SGMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald E. Dean. “This has been especially true as they have fostered hope and healing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We truly appreciate their service and encourage members of the community to join us in celebrating team members who have made such an impact to the health and wellness of our region.”  


To view the video and participate, visit 


SGMC’s health system includes four hospitals in Lowndes, Berrien and Lanier, and serves 24 counties across South Georgia and North Florida. SGMC operates five primary care offices and 22 specialty care offices and facilities. SGMC has nearly 700 providers, 1,000 nurses and 2,700 employees throughout the system and an annual economic impact approaching $1 billion. For more information visit  

SGMC Hosts Nursing Career Fair 1:08 pm

South Georgia Medical Center is hosting the hospital’s first in-person Nursing Career Fair of the year on April 22, 2021 from 10 AM – 3 PM at Mathis City Auditorium in Valdosta.

Representatives from all nursing units will be available to provide interviews and give job offers. Candidates are required to bring their resumes and be an RN or LPN with an active GA or multistate license or be in the process of obtaining their nursing license. Registration is not required to attend the event.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this event to nurses in our region. We will still maintain social distancing guidelines and candidates are required to wear masks. It is going to be a great event and we hope to see a big turnout of nurses.” says Ashley Romadka SGMC Director of Human Resources.

To learn more visit,

Hamilton Medical Center participating in national Talk With Me Baby program 12:46 pm

Beginning this month, all parents of babies born at Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) will take home a “Talk With Me Baby” book.


HMC is participating in Talk With Me Baby, a national program designed to help young parents and family members understand the importance of talking and communicating with their newborn babies.  The hardcover books show families in various everyday settings interacting with their children – while folding clothes, during bath time, out on a walk or other activities.


Hamilton is the first hospital system in Georgia to have its staff fully trained in Talk With Me Baby and the first to distribute books to parents.

“Parents of babies born at Hamilton need to know that their baby’s brain begins to develop and grow from the moment they arrive,” said Suzanne Harbin, director of the Early Childhood Initiative in Dalton. “The first three years of life are most important – babies’ brains are developing faster at that point than at any other time in their lives.”

Reading, talking and singing to a child are some of the best ways to assure that a baby’s brain develops to its fullest potential. The stronger a baby’s brain is developed, the easier it is for that child to learn and be ready for school at age 4 and 5.

“When babies are born at Hamilton, it is our first and often only chance to talk with the parents,” Harbin said. “We lose touch with the children until they arrive for school at age 5. By making sure that families leave Hamilton with the tools and knowledge they need to help their babies grow, we put them on the road to healthy, vibrant lives.  It is so important for families to gain this knowledge early, before they even leave the hospital!”

This awareness program is made possible by HMC in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia and the Early Childhood Initiative.

This is part of the community’s overall Get Georgia Reading efforts, with a goal to have all children on the path to reading on grade level by the third grade.


“We know that parents want their babies to be healthy,” said Melinda Edgeman, director of Women’s Services. “To grow a healthy brain, babies need a lot of loving words. That’s what we’re encouraging through the Talk With Me Baby program. We’re excited to partner with the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia and the Early Childhood Initiative in leading these efforts for our region!”



Mobile Food Pantry to Provide Food for Families in Need 12:47 pm

Atrium Health Navicent, in partnership with the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, The Akbar Family, and the Navicent Health Foundation, will hold a community drive-thru food distribution event on Friday, April 16.

Event Details

When:              Friday, April 16
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where:             Family Health Center, Navicent Health
3780 Eisenhower Parkway
Macon, GA 31201
Please use the Bloomfield Drive entrance.

Recipients will be able to drive through the parking lot to pick up food items on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last. No walk-ups (on foot) will be allowed. Social distancing guidelines will be followed.

“COVID-19 continues to impact families in our community, not only due to the devastating health effects of the virus, but also through lost work and lost wages,” said Atrium Health Navicent President and CEO Delvecchio Finley. “In addition to providing public vaccination services and caring for the sick, it’s through partnerships and events like this that Atrium Health is improving our community’s health and wellness, elevating hope and advancing healing for all.”


For more information about Friday’s event, please call (478) 633-6349.


About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent, the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Atrium Health Navicent provides care for health care consumers’ through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Atrium Health Navicent is dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit





Atrium Health Navicent Provides COVID-19 Vaccines to Brookdale Warming Center Residents 1:06 pm

As part of its commitment to serve vulnerable residents, Atrium Health Navicent partnered with Macon-Bibb County to vaccinate Brookdale Warming Center residents on Friday, providing protection against COVID 19.


“Atrium Health Navicent is proud to partner with Macon-Bibb County to vaccinate these residents and help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Atrium Health Navicent President and CEO Delvecchio Finley. “Community partnerships are a key strategy in our work to improve equitable access to healthcare, particularly COVID-19 vaccines which are key in fighting this deadly pandemic.”


The Warming Center, located in the former Brookdale Elementary School, was opened in January to provide the homeless and families in need with a warm, safe place to stay. The Center has remained open and is providing shelter and meals to those in need while a more permanent solution is created.


“We have worked to provide any service the residents at the Warming Center needed, recognizing they may not have transportation to reach those services or even know where to go,” said Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller. “Thank you to Atrium Health Navicent for bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to these residents and helping make sure they are protected from the pandemic.”


Atrium Health Navicent continues to provide public vaccination services at sites in Baldwin, Bibb and Peach counties by appointment. To make an appointment, visit or call 478-633-SAFE (7233). Appointments are based on vaccine availability, which is allocated and managed by the state.


Vaccinated individuals and those waiting to be vaccinated are encouraged to continue to practice COVID-safe behaviors including wearing a mask in public, social distancing and frequent hand washing.


About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent, the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Atrium Health Navicent provides care for health care consumers through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Atrium Health Navicent is dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit



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