Category Archives: Uncategorized Morris Bank Donates $150,000 to Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin through Georgia HEART Rural Tax Credit Program 3:29 pm

Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin is pleased to announce its receipt of a $150,000 donation from Morris Bank in partnership with the Georgia HEART Rural Tax Credit Program.

“This contribution through the Georgia HEART Rural Tax Credit Program will help Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin continue to provide high-quality care to patients in Milledgeville, and elevate the services we offer as we meet the needs of patients in the Baldwin County and Lake Oconee region,” said Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin CEO Todd Dixon. Thank you Morris Bank for your generosity and support.”

Morris Bank is a community bank rooted in middle and south Georgia with nine branches in Dublin, Gray, Houston County and Bulloch County, and a mortgage services center in Milledgeville. In an effort to give back and support the communities it serves, Morris Bank partnered with the Georgia HEART Rural Tax Credit Program to assist Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin in serving area families.

“We are fortunate to have quality health care here in Milledgeville-Baldwin County, and we believe this is an essential driver to developing and growing this community,” said Chairman and CEO of Morris Bank, Spence Mullis. “We appreciate all that Atrium Health Navicent provides to this area and are proud to partner with them through the Georgia HEART Hospital Program to continue serving the health care needs of this community.”

Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin is a 140-bed, acute care facility located in Milledgeville that provides 24/7 emergency services, radiology services, women’s services and general medical and surgical services to the 150,000 residents living in Baldwin and surrounding counties, and the Lake Oconee region.

Georgia businesses and individuals can contribute to the Georgia HEART Rural Tax Credit Program through June 30, 2022, or until a $60 million cap on contributions is met. By directing state taxes to qualified rural hospitals, taxpayers receive a 100 percent state income tax credit.

Fifty-five Georgia hospitals benefit from contributions, including Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin, Atrium Health Navicent Peach, Monroe County Hospital and Putnam General Hospital. For more information, or to contribute, visit www.georgiaheart.org.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

About Morris Bank

In an ever-changing banking environment, Morris Bank still takes a common-sense approach and leverages practical financial solutions and mortgage

services. Decisions have been made locally since 1954, and the Morris Bank team is ready to make banking easy for you. To learn what it means to

Bank Blue or to find out more about our Code Blue philosophy, visit www.morris.bank. Member FDIC.

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SGMC Advances Plans for Berrien Hospital Expansion 3:50 pm

On June 7, Nashville, Georgia and Berrien County elected officials, community leaders, and South Georgia Medical Center representatives met at Chaparral Boats to discuss the future healthcare needs for Berrien County and surrounding communities. Plans for a major expansion to the SGMC Berrien Campus and enhancements to SGMC’s healthcare delivery system for South Georgia were discussed. The $14.5 million project entails a new two-story Emergency Room addition that will expand the current campus footprint by 26,000 feet.   

  

The existing Berrien County Hospital was built in 1965. While there have been several technological investments over the years such as advanced x-ray equipment, laboratory instrumentation, and a new electronic health records system, the community and SGMC recognize the need for new modern emergency department facilities to better serve residents of South Georgia.  

  

“Creating access to modern, well-equipped facilities that enable high-quality healthcare to the people of rural South Georgia is a priority, especially during an emergency when it’s needed the most. We are excited about the future of the SGMC Berrien hospital campus and what more our remarkable team of physicians, staff, and volunteers can provide to the residents of Berrien County and surrounding communities through these enhanced facilities,” stated SGMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald E. Dean.   

  

This project will replace the original three-room emergency department with a new, modern nine-room emergency department. The state-of-the-art facility will feature larger trauma and specialty care patient rooms, and enhanced clinical and support space. The emergency department will be equipped with the latest monitoring systems and furnishings. Additionally, the expansion includes a new lobby and entrance to other hospital services.  

  

Dean shared that this is another way to create unequaled access to SGMC’s comprehensive network of specialties and providers. SGMC’s investment in advanced heart care includes the region’s only open-heart surgery program, a structural valve center with Transaortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), and cardiac electrophysiology services. SGMC also has the area’s only certified primary stroke center and advanced neonatal intensive care unit.    

  

Those in attendance shared stories regarding their experiences at the Berrien campus and their gratitude for being able to receive quality healthcare close to home.  

  

SGMC Foundation Board of Trustees Vice Chair Hayden Hancock shared, “Having access to this level of medical services in Berrien County and investing in the future of this campus serves more than the health needs of our community’s residents but also enhances the health of our local economy.”  

  

In addition to emergency services, SGMC’s Berrien Campus provides medical care for inpatient and outpatient services, imaging including 3-D mammography, a 12-bed geriatric psychiatric unit, and a substance abuse center.  

  

SGMC is a regional health system comprised of four hospital campuses in Lowndes, Berrien, and Lanier counties. Its network includes 11 primary care offices and 27 specialty care clinics and facilities. To learn more, visit sgmc.org. 

Northside Hospital Gwinnett celebrates construction start of new patient tower 1:58 pm

Expanding on its commitment to strengthen health care resources in the Gwinnett region, Northside Hospital held a ceremonial crane christening and groundbreaking event June 7 to mark construction of a new patient tower on its Northside Gwinnett campus in Lawrenceville.

 

Hospital leadership joined representatives from the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, Hospital Authority of Gwinnett County, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the local community to celebrate the continuing, rapid growth of the region’s health care resources.

 

“This is another great milestone for Gwinnett County,” said Northside Hospital Gwinnett/Duluth CEO and President Debbie Mitcham. “Northside’s mission in Gwinnett County is to provide world-class health care locally, so that people do not need to leave this county to get the health care that they deserve.”

 

The new patient tower will add 132 new inpatient beds, increasing the hospital’s total inpatient capacity from 388 to 520. The tower will include the expansion of ancillary and support services, and a new patient entry lobby and outpatient waiting area.

 

The project also includes a 143,828-square-foot medical office building to house outpatient imaging, ambulatory surgery and a variety of physician practices. Completion is expected by 2025.

 

According to the United States Census Bureau, Gwinnett County is the second largest county in Georgia. Ms. Mitcham said that Gwinnett’s success is the result of partnerships among visionary local leaders – government, academic, civic, business, and neighborhoods.

 

“Northside wants to grow with this community and be part of its bright future,” Ms. Mitcham said.

“As a physician, I can tell you that this expansion has been needed for a quite a while,” said Dr. Denise Pecht, chairman of the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation. “We are looking forward to the future of health care in Gwinnett and we’re counting on [Northside] continuing to be a vital part of that transformation.”

 

The architect for the Northside Hospital Gwinnett tower project is Perkins&Will, HLGstudio is the interior design firm, and the general contractor is Batson-Cook Construction.

 

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About Northside Hospital

The Northside Hospital health care system is one of Georgia’s leading health care providers with five acute-care hospitals in Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Lawrenceville and more than 250 outpatient locations across the state. Northside Hospital leads the U.S. in newborn deliveries and is among the state’s top providers of cancer care, sports medicine, cardiovascular and surgical services. For more information, visit: northside.com.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail transmission has been sent by Northside Hospital. It may contain information that is confidential, privileged, proprietary, or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message, any part of it, or any attachments. If you have received this message in error, please delete this message and any attachments from your system without reading the content and notify the sender immediately of the inadvertent transmission. There is no intent on the part of the sender to waive any privilege.

Atrium Health Navicent Expands Virtual Care to Support Infants’ Healthy Weight Gain 1:45 pm

Atrium Health Navicent has expanded its virtual care delivery system to include a new “Get Growing” program to support infants’ healthy weight gain after hospital discharge.

Since 2021, patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have been able to receive hospital-level treatment in the comfort of their own homes thanks to the health system’s innovative Hospital at Home virtual care delivery system. Earlier this year, the program expanded to include pediatric patients.

The Get Growing service of the Pediatric Hospital at Home program launched in March. Babies treated in the neonatal intensive care unit (NNICU) and pediatric inpatient units at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital are referred to the program by medical providers if there’s a need for close follow-up to ensure healthy weight gain at home.

Using a scale provided by the Pediatric Hospital at Home program, caregivers weigh their infants daily and provide information to the Hospital at Home care team via a phone call or text message. A Hospital at Home teammate performs follow-up care until babies establish care with a pediatric gastroenterology specialist.

“We found that infants needing tube feedings at home after discharge from the hospital were often ‘failing to thrive’ by the time they were seen at a follow up appointment with a pediatric gastroenterology specialist,” said Allison Butler, a nurse practitioner who provides care through Hospital at Home. “Through no fault of their own, caregivers were following instructions for feeding, but if the infants were spitting up or they were unsure how to mix the formula, the babies might have lost weight by the time they had their follow-up appointment. Using the provided scales, caregivers can weigh babies daily and feeding challenges can be addressed more quickly.”

Since the program began in March, all infants sent home with scales who have followed up with a gastroenterology specialist after hospital discharge have experienced significant weight gain.

“Caregivers with babies in the Get Growing program have received assistance in finding substitute formulas and support in ensuring formula is prepared correctly so these children can have a healthy start at life and thrive,” said Dr. Joanne Kennedy, medical director for the Pediatric Hospital at Home program and an Atrium Health Navicent pediatric hospitalist. “It’s helpful for families to know they have 24/7 access to a medical provider while participating in the program and rewarding for us to be able to answer caregivers’ questions and calm their fears.”

More about Hospital at Home

Although first launched as a program to provide treatment for COVID-19, Hospital at Home has expanded to treat adult and pediatric patients with multiple health needs while allowing them to receive regular monitoring of symptoms and vital signs at home. Patients are referred to the program via inpatient and emergency room physician referral.

Patients must have telephone access. As part of the program, the patient — or their caregiver — monitors and logs vital signs and participates in check-in calls with nurses and a physician, as needed. Patients may also access a 24/7 support line for any questions about their health. Through the virtual care delivery system, care providers can spot any trends or worsening symptoms and provide early intervention, if needed, before an emergency occurs.

To find a doctor, visit navicenthealth.org and click “Find a Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

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Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk with Safety Tips from Atrium Health Navicent 6:50 pm

While spending time outdoors is a great way to be physically active, get vitamin D, reduce stress and have fun, physicians at Atrium Health Navicent caution that too much unprotected sun exposure can be dangerous. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to remind individuals to be sun-safe when planning summer activities.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, an invisible type of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps, can lead to skin cancer, as UV rays are especially damaging to skin cells.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States with 4.3 million adults treated for skin cancer annually. One in 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Skin cancer can affect everyone, regardless of skin color. People with lighter skin pigmentation are much more likely to have their skin damaged by UV rays, but darker-skinned people also can be affected. Darker skin has more melanin than lighter skin. Melanin helps block damaging UV rays up to a point, which is why lighter-skinned people get sunburns more easily than darker-skinned people.

“If you’ve had three major, blistering sunburns in your lifetime, you’re at an increased risk of skin cancer. But, it’s important to remember that UV exposure also raises risk even without the burn,” said Dr. Paul Dale, chief of surgical oncology for Atrium Health Navicent and medical director for the Atrium Health Peyton Anderson Cancer Center. “Plan ahead by applying sunscreen before you go outside and don’t forget to reapply often. If you’re concerned about a mole or another spot on your skin, see your primary care doctor. Moles that itch or change shape, size or color should be examined as soon as possible. The earlier we identify cancer, the better we can treat it.”

Atrium Health Navicent physicians recommend individuals take the following preventative steps to protect their skin from too much UV exposure and to lower skin cancer risk:

• Stay in the shade as much as possible, under an umbrella, tree or other shelter.

• Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when you’re outside, even if you’re in the shade. Sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher should be applied in a thick layer on all exposed skin. The higher the SPF, the more protection the sunscreen offers. Be sure to reapply at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off. The use of sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months old. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that infants be dressed in protective clothing and kept in the shade.

• Wear a hat that has a brim that shades your face, ears and the back of your neck. If you wear a baseball cap, protect your ears and the back of your neck with clothing, sunscreen or by staying in the shade.

• Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Wrap-around styles block UV rays from coming in from the side.

If you have concerns about too much sun exposure, the Atrium Health Navicent Peyton Anderson Cancer Center can help. The center offers a range of services that encompasses all aspects of cancer care, from screening and diagnosis, through treatment and into survivorship. The Cancer Center is accredited by the Commission on Cancer with Commendation – Gold Level.

To contact the Atrium Health Navicent Peyton Anderson Cancer Center, call 478-633-3000. To find a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.” About Atrium Health Navicent Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

Join Atrium Health Navicent in Observing National Stroke Month in May 12:51 pm

Atrium Health Navicent invites the community to observe National Stroke Month during May by learning to recognize and react to the signs of stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of stroke. Every year in the U.S., about 795,000 people suffer a stroke, and about 610,000 of these are first-time strokes.

Central Georgians are at an increased risk for stroke due to the prevalence of common risk factors that include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and tobacco use. Georgia is in the “Stroke Belt,” an area in the Southeastern United States where stroke deaths are approximately 30 percent higher than the rest of the country. In 2020, Georgia held the 12th highest stroke death rate in the country.

Atrium Health Navicent physicians remind the public to act FAST, seeking immediate medical attention, if they experience any of these signs or symptoms:

• F – Facial weakness (Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?)

• A – Arm or leg weakness (Can the person raise both arms?)

• S – Speech difficulty (Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?)

• T – Time to act (Seek medical attention immediately!)

“Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States, but individuals can reduce their risk of stroke by making lifestyle changes and following up with a doctor for treatment of hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and sleep apnea,” said Atrium Health Navicent Stroke Medical Director Dr. Matthew Smith. “It’s important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke and that they seek medical attention FAST if they suspect a stroke has occurred.”

In addition to being recognized as a “high performing” stroke center by U.S. News & World Report, Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center is an 11-time recipient of the “Get with the Guidelines – Stroke Gold” Quality Achievement Award, an annual award presented by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association for excellence in stroke care. The health system earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

Atrium Health Navicent also has been named to AHA’s “Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus” for four years. The Honor Roll recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

For the second consecutive year, Atrium Health Navicent has been named to AHA’s “Target Type 2 Diabetes” Honor Roll, which recognizes hospitals that are taking steps to help stroke patients control and manage Type 2 diabetes, a well-established risk factor for stroke.

To find a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness

Hamilton Medical Center reminding community members to B.E. F.A.S.T. 1:19 pm

Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) is encouraging community members to be aware about the dangers of stroke and steps to take to avoid stroke. May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, causing brain cells to die.

 

“It’s very important to be treated quickly to minimize the effects of a stroke,” said Meagan Darnell, HMC stroke program coordinator. “Knowing the signs of stroke could save your life or the life of a family member or friend.”

 

The B.E. F.A.S.T. acronym is a valuable tool to help identify a possible stroke. The letters stand for balance, eyes, face, arms, speech and time – all factors in identifying and getting treated for stroke.

 

“When experiencing the symptoms of stroke, every second counts,” said Darnell. “So does getting the right level of care as quickly as possible.

 

HMC has a nationally ranked, highly trained Rapid Stroke Team on staff. HMC has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

 

To avoid stroke, it is recommended to stay active, eat healthy, quit smoking, control cholesterol and watch your blood pressure.

 

 

Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Urge Women to Prioritize Their Health During National Women’s Health Week 3:54 pm

The community is invited to join Atrium Health Navicent in recognizing May 8-14 as National Women’s Health Week. Beginning on Mother’s Day each year, this week serves as a reminder for women to take care of themselves and to make their health a priority.

National Women’s Health Week is a week-long health observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, and this year’s theme is “Forward Focus: Achieving Healthier Futures Together.”

Prioritizing your physical and mental health has never been more important. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many women put off taking care of their general health and wellness needs. They also adjusted their daily routines, including the way they connect with family and friends. The combination has led to serious health problems for some women.

During National Women’s Health Week, doctors at Atrium Health Navicent are encouraging women and girls to reflect on their individual health needs and take steps to improve their overall health. Whether you continue current activities or find new ones, now is a great time for all women and girls to focus on better health, especially those with underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. This is also a great time for family, friends and the community to take actions to support women and help them achieve the best health possible.

“Women’s Health Week is more important now than ever as we realize the general health and wellness needs of this unprecedented time,” said Dr. Vincent Fang, an OB-GYN practicing at Atrium Health Navicent Women’s Care OB/GYN. “I encourage every woman to recognize that your health is the greatest investment you can make in yourself. National Women’s Health Week should be a reminder to all women to take a break and align their mental, social, and physical wellbeing. Schedule that checkup, exercise and watch your diet. Women fill so many needs for their families, their careers and their community. Investment into your own health now will increase your involvement for future generations to come.”

Women can improve or maintain their physical and mental health by:

• Getting back on track with regularly scheduled well-woman visits (check-ups) and preventative screenings.

• Continuing to protect yourself against COVID-19 through vaccinations and booster shots.

• Being active. Take a walk, dance to your favorite music or begin a new exercise program.

• Maintaining a healthy weight through healthy eating choices, which may include swapping water for a sugary drink or trying a new recipe.

• Paying attention to mental health, which may include getting enough sleep, managing stress and practicing selfcare.

• Avoiding unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, texting while driving and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

• Seeking help if you are experiencing domestic violence, or offer support to a friend or family member who may be in an abusive relationship.

To find a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

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NGHS IS FIRST HEALTH SYSTEM IN NATION TO PROVIDE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SAFETY THROUGH VIRTUAL REALITY SIMULATORS 1:39 pm

Patients and visitors can now feel even safer when visiting Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is the first health system in the nation to provide the highest level of safety by training its security team with the Apex Virtual Reality Simulator.

“Our hospitals are now busier than ever,” said Rosetta Wright, Security Supervisor at NGMC Braselton. “It can be stressful for families and friends, and we want to make sure we are providing them with the peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to secure their safety.”

Apex Officer is a virtual reality simulator worn on the head – just like gaming devices – during training. It provides realistic and immersive de-escalation and crisis intervention training through randomized scenarios that are much like real life situations. Each has different results and outcomes to every action – all so NGHS security officers can respond more effectively.

In recent years, threats of active shooters and a rising concern for better security has increased. It is important for officers to de-escalate situations before they result in disaster. In almost every encounter, security officers are having to de-escalate adverse or difficult situations.

 “Our officers are always confronted with new and challenging situations, and this new equipment will help prepare us for all sorts of scenarios,” says Darrell Townsend, Security Director at Northeast Georgia Health System. “We look forward to training our officers with this equipment to provide the highest level of safety for our staff, patients and visitors.”

            For more information, visit nghs.com/security

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ABOUT NORTHEAST GEORGIA HEALTH SYSTEM

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 1 million people across the region through four hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has campuses in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega – with a total of more than 700 beds and more than 1,100 medical staff members representing more than 60 specialties. Learn more at www.nghs.com.

St. Mary’s certified as Georgia’s first Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center 7:26 pm

St. Mary’s has become the first hospital in Georgia to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for certification as a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center. St. Mary’s simultaneously received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for meeting specific standards of care for patients with stroke.

The Athens hospital provides a full continuum of stroke services including emergency care, critical care, rehabilitative services, prevention and education. The new certifications reflect St. Mary’s ability to provide mechanical thrombectomy services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in conjunction with neurological interventional specialists Dr. Neil Woodall and Dr. Feroze Afzal.

 

Mechanical thrombectomy uses minimally invasive technology to physically remove blood clots from the large blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. These large-vessel blood clots produce some of the most severe strokes and are often too large to treat with clot-busting drugs. When performed soon enough after a stroke begins, removing the clot may restore blood flow, save brain cells that would otherwise die, and reduce the risk of disability and death.

 

“We are proud to be the first hospital in the state of Georgia to receive thrombectomy-capable certification,” said St. Mary’s President and CEO Montez Carter.

 

“Our team has been on the forefront of stroke care for more than 20 years,” Carter noted. “These certifications demonstrate our ongoing commitment to staying on the leading edge. Our stroke program has saved many lives and helped untold numbers of people prevent or recover from profound disability. Our new capabilities are already helping even more people continue to lead full and meaningful lives after what would otherwise be a devastating stroke.”

 

St. Mary’s underwent a rigorous onsite review in early March. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with stroke-related certification standards, including processes and procedures, staff training, and the use of best practices for the safe delivery of care. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

 

“Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” said Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend St. Mary’s for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for stroke patients.”

 

St. Mary’s received its first Joint Commission certification as a primary stroke center in 2004, becoming one of the first 20 community hospitals in the nation to be certified. St. Mary’s went on to be certified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center a few years later and received its first American Heart Association/American Stroke Assocation Get With the Guidelines Gold-Plus award for stroke care in 2010. The hospital has received the AHA/ASA Gold-Plus award every year since.

 

St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Greensboro and St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia are not included in the Joint Commission certification. However, both are designated by the state of Georgia as remote treatment stroke centers. This designation means the hospitals, using telehealth connections with stroke experts in larger communities, have the ability to rapidly evaluate patients with stroke symptoms and administer the clot-busting drug tPA (Alteplase) when appropriate. Patients can then recover at the local hospital or be rushed to St. Mary’s in Athens for mechanical thrombectomy, if necessary.

 

“We congratulate St. Mary’s for this outstanding achievement,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, the American Stroke Association. “This certification reflects its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for stroke patients.”

 

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About stroke

Stroke is a medical emergency. It affects about 795,000 people a year in the United States, according to the CDC, and is a leading cause of death and disability. It happens when blood flow to part of the brain is stopped or seriously reduced. In nearly 90 percent of strokes, the cause is a blood clot that gets stuck in a blood vessel, blocking blood flow. This kind of stroke is called ischemic. In the other 10-15 percent of cases, the cause is a torn blood vessel, known as a hemmorhagic stroke.

 

The type of stroke is important. The clot-busting drug tPA cannot be given to someone with a hemmorhagic stroke because it will make the bleeding worse.

 

Once blood flow stops, brain cells “downstream” from the blockage quickly become stressed due to lack of oxygen and the build-up of waste products. Within minutes, the brain cells most affected by the stroke begin to die. In the most severe strokes, up to 2 million brain cells may die each minute.

 

Getting care fast is essential. The longer the flow of blood remains stopped, the more brain tissue dies. tPA and mechanical thrombectomy can restore blood flow and save cells that are stressed, but they cannot resurrect cells that have already died.

 

“That’s why it is vital for people to call 911 the moment symptoms appear,” says Whitney Barfield, RN, St. Mary’s stroke coordinator. “EMS begins preparing the patient for intervention, treats any emergent needs en route, and alerts the hospital of a stroke patient so that we can expedite treatment. Every second saved saves up to 33,000 precious brain cells. We love our partners in EMS!”

 

Know how to recognize the sudden signs of stroke: Think BE FAST

Balance – sudden loss of balance or coordination?

Eyes – double vision or loss of vision in one eye?

Face – does the mouth droop on one side?

Arms – does one arm drift downward?

Speech – slurring or difficulty saying the right words?

Time – Time to call 911!

 

For more information about Joint Commission certification, please visit The Joint Commission website.

 

For more information about St. Mary’s stroke services, please visit https://www.stmaryshealthcaresystem.org/_campaigns/stroke/home-stroke-services.

 

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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 and a gold-plus hospital for stroke care. For more information, visit St. Mary’s website at www.stmaryshealthcaresystem.org.

 

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