During the annual Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) Partnership for Health and Accountability’s (PHA) Patient Safety Summit held January 11-12, 2017 at the Ritz Carlton Lodge in Greensboro, Georgia, Habersham Medical Center was awarded four awards for excellence in patient quality and safety.

In the “Hospitals With Less Than 100 Beds” category, Habersham Medical Center earned a first place award for its project entitled “Improving Transition of Care through Effective Communication” and a third place award for the Medical Center’s project aimed at “Falls Prevention.”

“At Habersham Medical Center, we are always looking for ways to enhance the patient experience and to continuously improve our processes so we can provide the best quality care possible,” says Jerry Wise, CEO.  “The ultimate goal with any of our improvement projects is not to win awards, but to set a new standard for rural healthcare.”

According to Dede Arnau, RN and Chief Nursing Officer, “Our “Transition of Care” project focused on better communication between all healthcare providers from the emergency room and inpatient unit to home health and long-term care.  In addition, our “Falls Prevention” project focused on enhancing patient and family engagement and providing education on ways patients and their families can help reduce the risk of falls at home and while receiving medical treatment.”

Habersham Medical Center also received the Joshua Nahum First Place Award for Infection Prevention and Control.  “This was a huge honor for us,” adds Teri Newsome, RN and Director of Quality.  “This award was presented for Habersham Medical Center’s low surgical site infection rate, which is only 0.63 percent; lower than the national average of 0.75 percent.  We were nominated against other hospitals and healthcare systems across the state, regardless of size or bed count.  Winning second place was Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome and Piedmont Newnan Hospital won third place.  This award was presented by Armando and Victoria Nahum in memory of their son Joshua, who died in Maryland from a hospital-acquired infection, and the award also came with a $1,500 grand prize.”

Habersham Medical Center is also now included in the prestigious 2017 GHA Circle of Excellence, an honor given to Georgia hospitals and health systems that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to quality and patient safety as evidenced by earning three or more PHA Patient Safety Awards within five years.  There are currently only six hospitals in the GHA Circle of Excellence: Emory University Hospital Midtown, Habersham Medical Center, Morgan Memorial Hospital, Northside Medical Center, Redmond Regional Medical Center, and WellStar Cobb Hospital.

“These annual awards recognize Georgia hospitals and healthcare organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes,” says Earl V. Rogers, GHA President and CEO.  “We applaud Habersham Medical Center for its leadership and dedication to quality and patient safety and its commitment to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients.”