Hospital of the Year!

10/15/10 — Greensboro, GA -- St. Mary's Health Care System of Athens, GA was named 2010 Large Hospital of the Year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals (GACH) at its 27th annual conference Thursday night.

St. Mary's Health Care System demonstrated immense support of direct patient care through improving access for indigent populations, as well as strong quality of life initiatives, community benefits and expansion of critical health care services to its surrounding community, all contributing to its selection as 2010 Large Hospital of the Year.

Of particular note, St. Mary's provided approximately $11.9 million in charity care to nearly 2,700 patients in 2009, up more than 100 percent from 2007. They are also one of four lead partners on a new non-profit initiative to reduce the health care disparities for people who are uninsured or under-insured in Athens-Clarke County.

The GACH Hospital of the Year Award 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.

"At a time when hospitals are being asked to do more and more with less, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals is proud to recognize the hospitals that are making a tremendous impact in their local communities and overcoming obstacles to balance these demands each and every day," said GACH President Monty Veazey.

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 offers a 196-bed hospital, 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 stroke care, heart failure care and knee replacement surgery.

Also, St. Mary's this fall received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award, the highest level of recognition offered by AHA/ASA.

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.