Louis Smith Memorial Hospital received two prestigious awards from the Georgia Hospital Association at the recent Patient Safety Summit. The awards recognized the Chronic Disease Registry and the Taking Care of Our Own emergency medical training program developed by LSMH. Pictured L-R: Bill Wilson, Louis Smith Hospital Quality/Risk Manager; Joseph Parker, Georgia Hospital Association President; Randy Patten, Louis Smith Hospital EMS Director and Joyce Roegge, Director of Nurses at Louis Smith South Georgia Medical Center proudly announces that its affiliate hospital, Louis Smith Memorial Hospital in Lakeland, GA, has become the first Critical Access Hospital* in the state to be named to the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) prestigious Circle of Excellence. Louis Smith Memorial Hospital recently received second and third place awards at the Patient Safety Summit for two patient safety initiatives—a Chronic Disease Registry and a project to train local citizens in emergency medical response and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) named Taking Care of Our Own, Working Together, Nothing is Beyond our Reach. According to Randy Sauls, SGMC CEO, the Louis Smith leadership team consistently uses critical thinking skills and novel ideas to improve healthcare delivery. “The projects developed at Louis Smith are so beneficial they were deemed best practices by the Georgia Hospital Association and recognized state wide,” Sauls explains.To qualify for the GHA Circle of Excellence, hospitals needed to receive three GHA patient safety awards in the previous five years and an award in the current year. Louis Smith actually garnered five awards in five years. The Chronic Disease Registry (CDR) targets patients with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It provides patient education and medical oversight to prevent costly emergency room visits. The project utilizes the talents of Kristen Ley, a specially-trained registered nurse, who meets regularly with patients who are enrolled in the CDR. “Patients participating in the CDR will have his or her diseases more closely monitored, will participate in education to reduce associated risks and will conduct self monitoring to identify changes,” says Bill Wilson, Quality/Risk Manager and Director of Ancillary Services at Louis Smith. “As a result of the program, patients will be more aware, more educated about their chronic disease, more in touch with their care team, and more likely to be compliant with medical treatment. We also put a strong emphasis on follow-up appointments with patients’ primary care physicians.”In four months, 109 prospective clients have been identified with 59 taking advantage of the program. Wilson says, “We have seen significant weight loss and lower HgbA1c (average blood glucose concentration) results on several patients. Through the activities of the CDR, we have demonstrated that individual patient’s participation in personal disease management has produced improved patient outcomes, and improved their quality of life.”Louis Smith’s second award from GHA addresses the shortage of trained medical personnel in a rural community. Through its Taking Care of Our Own project, Louis Smith has improved access to emergency medical care by training members of the community as emergency medical responders.To provide back-up and support to Louis Smith’s one ambulance and crew, Louis Smith staff had to figure out how to provide additional emergency medical services on a limited budget. Citizens trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and others trained as emergency medical responders provide a pool of trained individuals who can offer care while a sick or injured person awaits ambulance assistance. To date, 30 citizens are trained as emergency medical responders and over 100 have completed CPR training.“This effort required the dedication of the EMS Director Randy Patten, the cooperative support from our hospital, local leaders, State agencies, and other concerned local citizens all working together,” explains Louis Smith Hospital Administrator Neil Ginty. “Without this collaboration and the passion to ‘take care of our own,’ a critical need would have gone unmet.”For more information on either of these patient safety initiatives, please contact SGMC’s Community Relations office at 229-259-4420.* A Critical Access Hospital is a designation given by Medicare to small, rural hospitals who qualify.