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NE Ga. Medical Center ranks among nations best
Hospital named one of Americas 50 Best Hospitals for 2013 by Healthgrades
Ronald Lewis, Northeast Georgia Medical Center chief of staff, looks at the surgery schedule with nurse Jenny Williams.

Patients in Gainesville are in good hands — some of the very best hands in the country.

For the last several years, Northeast Georgia Medical Center has been making a name for itself as the top cardiac care hospital in Georgia.

But now, the hospital has reached a new level of distinction.

The hospital was recently named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for 2013 by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

This distinction ranks the hospital among the top 1 percent of hospitals in the country. NGMC is the only hospital in Georgia to be recognized on the list.

“Our organization has received an increasing number of awards for the care we provide our patients,” Carol Burrell, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health Systems, said. “But this is no doubt the most rewarding recognition we’ve received thus far.”

Hospitals are recognized as being among the 50 best in the country based on risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates that were among the lowest 5 percent in the nation for at least seven years.

Healthgrades evaluated nearly 5,000 hospitals across the nation, reviewing and analyzing clinical performances across 27 common procedures and diagnoses to determine the nation’s best performing hospitals based on objective measures of clinical quality.

In addition to being named one of the best hospitals in the country, NGMC was also recognized as being No. 1 in the state for cardiology, general surgery and gastrointestinal services.

Other services, including women’s health, pulmonary services, critical care, and coronary interventional procedures ranked the hospital among the top five percent in the nation.

Dr. Mark Leimbach, chief of cardiology at NGMC and a cardiologist at Northeast Georgia Heart Center, said caring for patients is just in the nature of health care providers. It’s their shared passion.

“I think a recognition like this, though not the reason we do it, is good to let people know about the high-quality care that they have here locally and the services that are available,” Leimbach said.

While the hospital has strived to create a reputation of excellence in the region, it’s all in a days work for the physicians, nurses and staff who care for the health of the community.

“There is no greater achievement for our medical staff and caregivers than to save patients’ lives and protect their health while they’re in our care,” said Dr. Ron Lewis, general surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Surgical Associates and chief of NGMC’s medical staff.

“To be recognized not only for achieving a level of care among the best

hospitals in the nation, but also for providing that level of care consistently for seven years perfectly demonstrates our unwavering commitment to excellence.”

Burrell praised the hospital’s employees and volunteers for their tireless work in providing patients with elite-level care. She said the award proves that NGMC is making Gainesville a national destination for health care.

“We have established a cultural expectation known as ‘Quest for Excellence’ which is based on empowering employees across the organization,” Burrell said.

She said that everyone within the organization, from administrators to the front line staff, work to identify and implement ways to improve the care of patients. She said the quest ensures the hospital never loses sight of adding value to the patients’ experiences as the hospital continues to grow.

“If you’re not continuously improving then you’re starting to decline,” Leimbach said. “It’s a continuous process; there isn’t a way to stay still.”

Dr. Stephen Moore, a gastroenterologist with Gastroenterology Associates of Gainesville who works on staff at NGMC, said the hospital has been committed to providing exceptional care to the community for many years.

Moore said the hospitals reputation for quality care seems to have grown tremendously over the years and encourages all the physicians in the area to improve their level of quality as well.

“I think people are already quite aware that the hospital has a reputation for excellence in.. all areas really,” Moore said. “And this just reaffirms the hospital’s commitment to that.