St. Mary's named Georgia's Large Hospital of the Year

10/16/15 — (Greensboro, GA) – St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens was named 2015 Large Hospital of the Year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals (the Alliance) at its 32nd Annual Conference, held on Oct. 13.

The “Hospital of the Year” award highlights the impact of member hospitals on individual patients, the health and wellness of Georgians, and the quality of life of their communities. The Alliance selected St. Mary’s for its demonstrated commitment to improving access to care and expanding critical health services. This is the third time St. Mary's has received this recognition, the previous Hospital of the Year awards were presented in 2006 and 2010.

Physician workforce issues are a top concern as Georgia ranks 44 out of 50 states for active primary care physicians. St. Mary’s and the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership in Athens made medical history by launching Northeast Georgia’s first Internal Medicine Residency Program and filled all 10 residency positions. The hospital plans to add 20 new residencies, bringing the total number to 30 within the next two years.

In addition to the approximate $17 million the hospital provides in charity and uncompensated care, St. Mary’s invests in enhancing services available in the community. It has partnered with community organizations to provide free mammograms to uninsured women and health education and screenings at senior centers, community events and employer health fairs. Additionally, the hospital provided programs on bicycle safety, exercise, nutrition and helmet use to approximately 2,700 students across 10 elementary schools.

The Alliance also acknowledged St. Mary’s for its expanded critical services: St. Mary’s Hospice is the only hospice in the Athens area that delivers perinatal and pediatric hospice care, providing services to all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. The hospital also continued to expand its stroke capabilities, earning the Hospital Star Award from the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry (GCASR) for leadership in improving stroke care in their service area and across the state.

“The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals is grateful to St. Mary’s for its unwavering commitment to improving the health of local community members and is proud to recognize St. Mary’s as our 2015 Large Hospital of the Year,” said Alliance President, Monty Veazey. “Of its many achievements in the recent past, we applaud the hospital’s unprecedented initiative in launching the first medical residency program in Northeast Georgia. This historic program attracted a new generation of primary care physicians to our region, most of whom will likely go on to practice in or near the community where they completed their residency.”

About the Hospital of the Year Award
The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospital’s “Hospital of the Year” is an annual competition that spotlights the important value of Georgia’s community hospitals. Hospital submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges from public relations agency Porter Novelli, focusing on initiatives that support direct patient access, improved access to underserved populations, major economic development initiatives, major quality-of-life initiatives and extraordinary community benefits.

About the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals
The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals (GACH) has been working for the best interests of community not-for-profit hospitals and Georgia's health care consumers since its founding in 1983. The Alliance works to foster goodwill among community health care professionals; to advocate the enactment of sound laws, rules and regulations affecting community hospitals; to conduct and disseminate research and to share ideas that improve the health care delivery system in Georgia.

About St. Mary’s Health Care System
Founded in 1906, St. Mary's Health Care System is a non-profit Catholic health care system whose mission is to be a compassionate healing presence in Athens and Northeast Georgia. St. Mary's specializes in neurosciences, cardiac care, orthopedics, women's and children's health and general medicine/general surgery. St. Mary's Health Care System includes St. Mary's Hospital in Athens, St. Mary's Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia, and St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital in Greensboro. Services include emergency care, intensive care, home health care/hospice services, inpatient rehabilitation, Alzheimer's and dementia care, and state-of-the art diagnostic and therapeutic care. St. Mary's is proud to be the official health care provider for the University of Georgia Athletic Association and the first hospital in the Athens area to receive specialty certification from the Joint Commission in six specialty areas: stroke care, heart failure care, inpatient diabetes care, spine surgery and knee and hip replacement surgery.