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Phoebe receives 'A' Leapfrog safety grade

ALBANY – Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is listed among the best hospitals in the country in patient safety by The Leapfrog Group. The hospital was awarded an “A” in the fall 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing Phoebe’s achievements protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care.

“At Phoebe, nothing is more important than the safety of our patients,” Joe Austin, Phoebe’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a news release. “We are proud our staff’s daily commitment to patient safety and quality care has been recognized and affirmed by the independent experts at Leapfrog.”

The Leapfrog Group is a national watchdog organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” grade to all general hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care.

“Our goal at Phoebe is zero patient harm, and we have made tremendous strides toward reaching that goal in recent years,” Dr. Steven Kitchen, Phoebe’s chief medical officer, said. “Thanks to the diligent work of focused safety teams, we have reduced incidents of patient harm by 61% throughout our health system in three years, and we are committed to continuing that positive trend.”

Phoebe recently updated its quality website with safety information through the first eight months of 2019. Those numbers show an overall surgical site infection rate of just .245% or less than one infection for every 400 surgeries. Patients can visit phoebequality.com to see the most up-to-date numbers on surgical site infections and other patient safety metrics such as the number of patient falls with injury, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and central line-associated bloodstream infections. The site also includes information about those patient harm indicators and what Phoebe is doing to continue to lower the numbers.

“Our quality website illustrates our commitment to transparency,” Austin said. “We want the people we serve to be able to easily see how we’re doing and to hold us accountable.”

This year, Phoebe Putney Health System also began a quest to become a High Reliability Organization.

“Our patients expect us to keep them safe, heal them and be nice to them. That is more than a simple saying; it is our foundational pledge to the people of southwest Georgia,” Phoebe Health System Chief Executive Officer Scott Steiner said. “As an HRO, we will be obsessed with failure and with efforts to bring zero harm to patients. This multiyear effort will include specialized training to ensure every Phoebe employee puts safety first every day.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade was developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, and it uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The hospital safety grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

“‘A’ hospitals show us their leadership protecting patients from preventable medical harm and error,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said. “It takes genuine commitment at every level – from clinicians to administrators to the board of directors – and we congratulate the teams who have worked so hard to earn this ‘A.’”

Phoebe was awarded an “A” grade Thursday, when Leapfrog announced grades for the fall 2019 update. To see Phoebe’s full grade details, learn how employers can help, and access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit hospitalsafetygrade.org.

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents and infections.

Founded in 1911, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is southwest Georgia’s comprehensive, regional medical center and the flagship hospital of Phoebe Putney Health System. Phoebe’s regional specialty centers include the state-of-the-art Phoebe Cancer Center, an advanced heart and vascular center, and a regional perinatal center serving premature babies and families from 22 counties. In fiscal year 2019 Phoebe treated 52,388 patients in its main emergency center, had 17,058 admissions, performed 12,765 surgeries and delivered 2,142 babies.


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Ice skating in Albany? City reveals plans for parade, Christmas village

ALBANY – Albany will have A Story Book Christmas on Dec. 7 with the arrival of Santa Claus, the annual holiday parade, a videogame truck among many vendors, and a new feature this year: an ice skating rink set up for the downtown festivities.

The activities kick off at 4 p.m., in the Christmas Village on the 100 block of Pine Avenue.

“This is just something different,” Downtown Manager Lequrica Gaskins said. “Ice skating has become a new niche, and it’s a fun way to get families to come out together. The ice rink is free to the public from 4-9 p.m.

“This is our 29th Christmas celebration taking place in downtown Albany, in the center of downtown. We’re asking everyone to come out and have a good time. We’re inviting our surrounding communities to come out and have a good time. It’s the best time of the year.”

The parade is expected to feature its usual 80 to 100 entrants, Gaskins said, and will feature local bands and dance groups as well as Albany State University’s marching band.

The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. and will wind its way through the downtown area.

The theme of the celebration was selected over the summer. Children in camps chose 20 names and took a vote, and A Story Book Christmas came out on top.

“We wanted our children to participate in what our theme was,” Gaskins said.

Another first this year is that parade entrants can sign up and pay online, as can vendors.

“We’re encouraging people to sign up for the parade,” Gaskins said. “We want to invite the clubs, the churches, the business owners to register to be a part of the parade. We’re inviting the schools to come provide some of the entertainment.

“You name it, we want them to be a part of this great community celebration.”

Local talent and a DJ will provide entertainment in the Christmas Village from 4-4:45 p.m., and will continue during the parade pre-show from 5-5:45 p.m., during which time children can meet familiar characters including Spider Man, the Grinch, the Red Queen from “Alice in Wonderland,” and Elsa from “Frozen.”

During the lighting of the tree ceremony at 5:45 p.m., the city will honor Bennett Jones. Jones was born with a heart condition. The 8-year-old Lee County boy died Sept. 4 at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in St. Louis on the day of his heart transplant surgery.

Jones’ brother and sister will participate in the lighting of the tree, Gaskins said.

The parade runs from 6-8 p.m., and children can meet and have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 8-9 p.m., during which time more live entertainment will be featured.

For the older children there will be a gaming bus.

“We were thinking about the teenagers,” said Gaskins, who added that space is available for more vendors.

“If there are any vendors, arts and crafts, food, retail, we’re asking them to come help us celebrate the 29th Christmas celebration,” she said.

Some downtown businesses will stay open late that night to allow those who are in the area the opportunity to do some shopping.

To register as a parade entrant or vendor, visit albanyga.gov. For more information, call (229) 302-1393.


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Site Selection Magazine: Georgia is No. 1 again

AUGUSTA — Gov. Brian P. Kemp announced Wednesday that Georgia’s business climate has been named No. 1 in the nation by Site Selection Magazine, an internationally circulated business publication covering corporate real estate and economic development, for the seventh year in a row. Georgia is the only state that has received the distinction seven consecutive times in the history of Site Selection’s rankings. Kemp made the historic announcement at the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta.

“I am incredibly proud that Georgia has received the No. 1 ranking from Site Selection for the seventh year in a row,” Kemp said. “From day one of my administration, we have been laser-focused on creating opportunities for hard-working Georgians in every corner of the state. Our efforts to cut burdensome regulations, continue developing a world-class work force, and market all regions of the Peach State through the formation of a Rural Strike Team have not gone unnoticed, and this announcement affirms that.

”The nation’s leading site consultants see opportunity for growth across our state. Our top-ranked work force development initiatives — combined with a conservative, pro-business policy approach, world-class higher education system, and a logistics network that puts the global economy within arm’s reach — make Georgia a top competitor for investment from businesses large and small — across the country and around the world. I am proud of the work that we have done, but it does not stop here. We will continue raising the bar and working with our economic development partners in the public and private sectors to ensure that Georgia stays the best place in the nation to live, work and raise a family.”

Site Selection releases its Top State Business Climate rankings each November. The rankings are 50% based on objective criteria and 50% on the input received from a survey of independent site location experts who are asked to rank and explain their choice.

“Our readers are keenly interested in our annual state business climate ranking, because they seek locations with the greatest prospects for success,” Matk Arend, editor-in chief of Site Selection, said in a news release. “Georgia’s seventh consecutive Top State Business Climate win reminds them that a Georgia location will contribute to their productivity and profitability long-term.”

Georgia has long received recognition from leading companies and site consultants for its attractive business climate. The state’s work force training program, Georgia Quick Start, is the top-ranked program in the United States. Logistics hubs like the Port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport connect businesses to their consumers far and wide, and the state’s pro-business policies make Georgia a competitive option for companies looking to locate or expand. In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, the Georgia Department of Economic Development supported the creation of nearly 29,000 new jobs through the location of 332 projects, 74% of which were located outside of metro Atlanta.

“We are thrilled that Georgia’s business climate has once again been named No. 1 by Site Selection,” GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson said. “Under Gov. Kemp’s leadership, our partnership approach to economic development has enabled us to maintain a competitive edge in attracting new business and expanding our existing industries.

”Our world-class team at the Georgia Department of Economic Development is proud to work with our economic development partners throughout the state to make record-breaking achievements like this possible. We look forward to joining with Gov. Kemp to continue spreading hope and creating opportunities for all Georgians in the years to come.”

Site Selection Magazine joins Area Development Magazine in naming Georgia the top state for business for 2019 — the seventh and sixth straight year, respectively, that both publications have awarded Georgia the ranking.


Lisa Stephens named dean of Healthcare/Business Technology at Albany Tech

ALBANY – Albany Technical College has appointed a new dean of Healthcare/Business Technology. Lisa Yvonne Stephens will start the position immediately.

“It is truly an honor to serve as a mentor to faculty, a champion for students, and an advocate for health care careers in the southwest Georgia community in my new role as dean of Healthcare/Business Technology at Albany Tech,” Stephens said in a news release.

Her new position will allow Stephens to provide leadership and management for instructional programs in the Healthcare/Business Technology area and assist in collegewide recruiting and enrollment management efforts. She also will supervise academic personnel, programs and services, as well as have responsibility for area curricula.

Stephens is a native of Dawson, and a graduate of Terrell County High School. In 2015, she received her associate’s degree in Advanced Medical Imaging and obtained technical certificates of credit in Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging from Central Georgia Technical College in Macon.

Stephens continued her medical imaging education, earning a bachelor of medical science degree from Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta in May 2016. In July 2018, she received a master of business administration degree in Health from Mercer University.

The new Albany Tech dean started her career as a Radiologic Technologist Extern in May 2012 at Macon’s Medical Center, Navicent Health. She worked there for one year performing and evaluating developed imaging for diagnostic purposes in a Level 1 trauma center. She continued as a Radiologic Technologist with Navicent Health until January 2014. In that capacity, she served a diverse patient caseload including newborns, infants, children, adolescents, adults and geriatric patients. Stephens also mastered radiology/hospital information systems, including Cerner and GE Centricity, to maintain and track patient diagnostics.

In January 2014, Stephens became a CT Technologist at Medical Center, Navicent Health, and is currently still serving in that position. She became skilled in operating a 64- and 16-slice GE scanner to accurately interpret a physician’s scanning instructions while demonstrating an understanding of human cross-sectional anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and medical terminology.

Stephens became an MRI Technologist at Radiology Associates of Macon in January 2016. This post required her to perform diagnostic testing using a GE 3.0 Tesla scanner in an inpatient setting, working under the supervision of physicians and other medical personnel.

Stephen’s experience as an educator started in June 2016 as a clinical coordinator at Central Georgia Technical College. In June 2017, she accepted a position at Albany Technical College as the program director for the Radiologic Technology Program. This position allowed her to oversee ongoing program assessment, participate in budget planning, and assume the leadership role in the continued development of the program. She was in this role until October 2019.