ATLANTA – South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) in Valdosta has been named to the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) Safety Leaders Circle, which recognizes hospitals’ improvements in patient care for the second quarter of 2013. SGMC is one of 31 hospitals in Georgia to place in the Elite Circle, the highest on the list.SGMC is a participant in the GHA HEN, an initiative begun last year that is part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service’s (CMS) Partnership for Patients. GHA, through its Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA), is one of 26 organizations nationally to be awarded federal funding to coordinate the implementation of a series of projects with hospitals. The goals of these projects are to reduce hospital-acquired conditions (HAC) by 40 percent and hospital readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013. According to data provided by GHA, Georgia hospitals have prevented almost 9,300 incidents of harm, resulting in savings ranging from $59 million to $63 million.To achieve these goals, there are major directives from CMS regarding improved care in 10 focus areas: Four are related to hospital-acquired infections (HAI); four are related to HACs; one is related to obstetrics (OB) and trying to eliminate elective deliveries before 39 weeks; and one is related to transition of care and reduction of readmissions. As part of their participation in the GHA HEN, hospitals selected two of these areas on which to focus in 2012. Scores for the Safety Leaders Circle are based on several criteria, including a database that measures hospitals’ improvement in their respective selected areas. “Thanks to the leadership and commitment of SGMC, we have made great progress in achieving the significant life-saving goals of this important initiative,” said Earl Rogers, president of GHA. “We are proud to recognize the hard work of SGMC staff and applaud their efforts and commitment to ensuring the reduction of infections and readmissions.”“SGMC strives to optimize continuous improvement in clinical quality of care, patient safety and patient experience,” said Randy Sauls, CEO of SGMC. “This recognition validates the hard work and effort exhibited by our physician leaders and employees to achieve these goals.” About South Georgia Medical CenterSGMC is the region’s premier healthcare provider located in Valdosta, Georgia. The hospital serves a 11-county area in South Central Georgia and North Florida. It is governed by the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County, GA. The hospital provides general medical services, specialty services including robotic-assisted surgeries, minimally invasive and general surgeries, comprehensive cancer care, open heart surgery and angioplasty, women and children’s services, imaging services, neurology and neurosurgery, ambulance and emergency services and inpatient rehabilitation. In addition to its 285-bed main campus, SGMC operates two off-site campuses—the 45-bed SMITH Northview campus in Valdosta and the 63-bed SGMC Berrien campus in Nashville as its affiliates. For more information, go to our website, www.sgmc.org.About PHAThe Partnership for Health and Accountability, formed in January 2000 and sponsored by the Georgia Hospital Association, is a unique statewide collaborative that brings together health care providers with community agencies and individuals to achieve healthy communities. PHA includes representation from groups like hospitals, physicians, state health officials, legislators and businesses.