PRESS RELEASE FROM PIEDMONT MOUNTAINSIDE
Jasper, Ga. (April 16, 2019) – From 1999 to 2010, opioid-related deaths in Georgia increased by 500 percent. In 2016, there were close to 1,000 deaths involving opioids in the state and those numbers are continuing to increase. Facing those statistics and knowing that all healthcare systems need to play a role in attempting to stem this epidemic, Piedmont Healthcare is examining its pain management policies and connecting its hospitals with stakeholders in the community in an effort to address this crisis.
National Drug Take Back Day, which is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is Saturday, April 27, and will feature activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Local law enforcement agencies will provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from the home medicine cabinet. Using pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse.
“One of the most important things we can do as individuals, especially as we try to protect our families and children, is to dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs,” said Piedmont Mountainside CEO Denise Ray. “That’s why we’re supporting the efforts of our local public safety departments and letting our employees know about National Drug Take Back Day and what they can do on a personal level.”
In 2018, Take Back Day brought in more than 900,000 pounds of unused or expired prescription medication. Disposing of those drugs safely keeps them off the streets and protects the environment as well. On its website for Take Back Day, the DEA has a collection site locator that allows individuals to find the closest take back sites to where they live: https://takebackday.dea.gov/.
Throughout its 11 hospitals, Piedmont will be coordinating with various local law enforcement and public health agencies on Take Back Day.
From a system level, Piedmont, the largest healthcare provider in Georgia, convened an Opioids Task Force in 2018 and is seeking to provide patients with optimal pain management while preventing the potential for opioid abuse. One of the key tenets to Piedmont’s plan is to increase education and awareness among both patients and staff. There are times when the use of opioids is appropriate and necessary, but Piedmont’s new protocols, created by its physician leaders in consultation with clinical staff, will consider non-opioids and alternate pain management modalities such as topical therapy, local injections, massage, physical therapy and more. Piedmont will also focus on establishing system-wide standardization and coordination of prescribing protocols in key risk areas.
“It is important to reduce the stigma around opioid addiction,” said Ray. “Unfortunately this is a sweeping epidemic, one that is effecting people across the country, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. No one person, organization, city or state can tackle it alone, but Piedmont Mountainside is proud to join our sister hospitals and play a role alongside our patients and partners in the community.”
Learn more about Piedmont at piedmont.org
Public Release by: Piedmont Healthcare
Atlanta, Ga. (March 13, 2019) – Piedmont Healthcare now offers Rachel’s Gift, a non-profit program that provides support and guidance services to families who have suffered the loss of an infant, at 10 of its hospital locations.
Started in 2008, Rachel’s Gift partners with hospitals to assist families through the initial phase of infant loss. In coordination with the hospital’s labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and emergency department staff, Rachel’s Gift trains on grief assistance and companioning patients through infant loss.
“Rachel’s Gift is a very special program, and we’re proud to be able to train our staff to offer the services that it provides,” said Carolene Gaster, Clinical Manager of Labor and Delivery at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. “The program helps our local hospitals provide a healthy environment to begin the grieving process for families, while also providing lifetime keepsakes of their child. It’s a really special program.”
With Rachel’s Gift, hospital staff receives regular training written by licensed professional counselors as well as families who have experienced infant loss, educating them in the grief process. The program has training specific to NICU services, as well as services in the emergency department, helping families experiencing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), an unexpected death that usually occurs during sleep, and families with early-term infant loss who visit the emergency room.
“It equips hospital staff with an outline to help families face the grief,” said Gaster. “Thanks to the program, these families also have access to a 24-hour hotline to call when they’re in need of assistance after they leave our care.”
Rachel’s Gift also gives families a keepsakes of their child, and families receive a package that includes items such as clay kits to collect hands and footprints of their child, a special album, a book to guide them in grieving, and information about businesses in their local community that provide free counseling and other support services that these families may need.
“It’s amazing to see our program being utilized throughout the Piedmont Healthcare system,” said Lori Beth Blaney, director of Rachel’s Gift. “Our nationally accredited training course equips staff with the tools and training to deliver compassionate patient care, while also providing a gift that gives these families special keepsakes for a lifetime reminder and a physical reminder of their child.”
Piedmont’s hospitals comprise 10 of the 27 hospitals in Georgia that offer Rachel’s Gift’s free services, and the program is available at Piedmont Atlanta, Piedmont Athens Regional, Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown, Piedmont Fayette, Piedmont Henry, Piedmont Mountainside, Piedmont Newnan, Piedmont Newton, Piedmont Rockdale and Piedmont Walton hospitals.
For more information about maternity services at Piedmont Healthcare, visit piedmont.org.
Jasper, Ga. (March 11, 2019) — Piedmont Mountainside Hospital has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by IBM Watson Health™. The study spotlights the top-performing hospitals in the U.S. based on a balanced scorecard of publicly available clinical, operational and patient satisfaction metrics and data.
“At Piedmont Mountainside, we share a commitment to providing unsurpassed medical care to all who need our services,” said hospital CEO Denise Ray. “We take our promise of making a positive difference in every life we touch seriously, and that’s why we’re so proud to be recognized as a Top 100 Hospital this year.”
Overall, the IBM Watson Health™ 100 Top Hospitals study found that the top-performing hospitals outperformed non-winning peer group hospitals in a variety of performance measures, including higher survival rates, fewer complications and infections, shorter length of stay, shorter emergency department wait times, lower inpatient expenses, higher overall profit margins and higher patient satisfaction.
Based on the results of this year’s study, Watson Health extrapolates that if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the award-winning facilities:
- More than 103,000 additional lives could be saved;
- More than 38,000 additional patients could be complication-free;
- More than $8.2 billion in inpatient costs could be saved; and
- Approximately 155,000 fewer discharged patients would be readmitted within 30 days.
“At a time when research shows that the U.S. spends nearly twice as much on healthcare as other high-income countries, yet still has poorer population health outcomes , the 100 Top Hospitals are bucking the trend by delivering consistently better care at a lower cost,” said Ekta Punwani, 100 Top Hospitals® program leader at IBM Watson Health. “The hospitals on this list represent the current vanguard in value-based care and we applaud their commitment to quality.”
The Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals® study uses independent and objective research to analyze hospital and health system performance in 10 clinical and operational areas addressing: risk-adjusted inpatient mortality index, risk-adjusted complications index, mean healthcare-associated infection index, mean 30-day risk-adjusted mortality rate, mean 30-day risk-adjusted readmission rate, severity-adjusted length of stay, mean emergency department throughput, case mix- and wage-adjusted inpatient expense per discharge, adjusted operating profit margin, and HCAHPS score (patient rating of overall hospital performance). The study has been conducted annually since 1993.
For more information, visit www.100tophospitals.com.
About Piedmont Mountainside Hospital
Piedmont Mountainside Hospital – a 52-bed hospital, located in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains – dedicates itself to delivering unsurpassed medical care to the residents of Pickens. Gilmer and North Cherokee Counties and surrounding communities. We provide a range of services from cardiac rehabilitation and imaging to orthopedic services to cardiac catheterization and general surgery. Piedmont Mountainside offers intensive care, 24-hour emergency services with 18 beds and a fast track area.
At Piedmont Mountainside, we take pride in providing outstanding care and our record of accomplishment speaks for itself. In the past few years, Piedmont Mountainside has consistently ranked in the top five Atlanta hospitals in patient experience as well as received top marks for our commitment to patient safety by Leapfrog 7 consecutive times. Other awards received are the Press Ganey Partner of Choice Award, Best Place to Practice Award, 2011 Small Hospital of the Year, AJC’s 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Top Workplace, the Women’s Choice Award for Best in Obstetrics and Best in Patient Safety, and Business of the Year by the Gilmer Co. Chamber.
About IBM Watson Health
Watson Health is a business unit of IBM that is dedicated to the development and implementation of cognitive and data-driven technologies to advance health. Watson Health technologies are tackling a wide range of the world’s biggest health care challenges, including cancer, diabetes, drug discovery and more.
On February 15, 2016, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Pickens County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a
shooting report at 863 Lower Dowda Mill Road, Jasper, Georgia. Upon their arrival they located Ms
Breeanna Clark, the victim, and she appeared to be bleeding. In addition to Ms. Clark, two other
adult males were in the residence as well.
After speaking to the individuals, deputies learned that three individuals had came to the residence
and made forced entry into the residence. The individuals, later identified as Trayvon Jones, Tony
Samples and Brody Samples, were carrying a bat and a long gun. They immediately began an
altercation with Ms. Clark and the other gentlemen in the home, demanding property that they were
at the residence to pick up.
During the altercation, shots were fired and Ms. Clark sustained injuries from a gunshot. She was
later transported to Kennestone Hospital, where doctors stated that her injuries were non-life
threatening and is currently listed in stable condition.
The witnesses were able to provide a basic vehicle description of the suspect’s vehicle. This
information was given out and detectives learned that the vehicle had been seen in the Canton
Georgia area. Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agents joined PSO Detectives, the Canton Police
Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, and Cherokee SWAT officers as they went to the
area and were able to apprehend all three suspects.
Sheriff Donnie Craig stated “Thanks to a terrific team of law enforcement officers from Pickens
County, Canton, Cherokee County and the GBI, they were able to bring a rapid closure to this case.”
Craig went on to say how happy he was to prevent panic for our citizens by taking the individuals
involved into custody.
This is still a very active investigation as agents are working to continue interviewing all involved
parties. Due to the active nature of the investigation, no additional details are available.
Related link: Homeowner shot in home invasion in Pickens
A bomb is exactly what citizens are calling this information that they say came out of nowhere. With continuing questions of what this means to Gilmer County, FYN sat down with Executive Director of the Greater Gilmer JDA (Joint Development Authority), Chuck Scragg in an interview Wednesday.
As Director Scragg said, the impact of that information and the potential loss to Gilmer County could be quite substantial as losing a $31,000,000 business, which the hospital as a whole contributes to the county, would be a large impediment on the economy, stating, “in 2006 there were 9,035 jobs in Gilmer County, right now, today, there are 7,200 jobs.” Losing a business is losing jobs.
In a county that is still not recovering from the recession, it will be much harder to entice companies to join and move into Gilmer county with no inpatient care services. Director Scragg said when people visit for business scouting, after seeing potential sites, there are always three things they ask to see in the county; Schools, Downtown Area, and Healthcare Facilities.
While FYN has learned of a non-disclosure agreement covering the leasing or closing of the Medical Center, FYN has continued requesting comments from Piedmont Mountainside about the Transition and Services they would provide for Gilmer County considering there is a deadline of January 27 to contest the issue and the filing of a Request for Determination.
Citizens and employees of the Medical Center both are commenting and responding to this information saying “there are employees there that depend on their job to support their family” and many saying this is the first they have heard of the possible closing. With this being the first information they have received, many are still questioning why they were not informed earlier with the deadline only a week away?
House Speaker David Ralston’s office also released the following statement concerning the hospital via Kaleb McMichen, Spokesman.
Under President Obama’s administration, actions at the federal level have driven up the costs of healthcare including deductibles and premiums of commercial health insurance policies as well as the state’s portion of Medicaid spending. Unfortunately, many hospitals and doctors across Georgia, particularly those in rural areas, are struggling to cope with these changing financial realities.
As recently as last week, Speaker Ralston has said time and again that maintaining access to high-quality healthcare for Georgia’s citizens is a priority. He remains engaged with stakeholders and is working with them to find the best of available solutions to preserve access to hospital care in Gilmer County.
According to Director Scragg, the Greater Gilmer JDA will be having a Special Called Meeting on Monday morning at 9:00am at the Gilmer Chamber. We at FYN have also received the Agenda for this meeting, one of the major items on the agenda being ‘Review & Action on Hospital DET.’ This is an open meeting for citizens to sit in to listen and participate in a Citizens Wishing to Speak Section.
Listen to the full interview with Executive Director Chuck Scragg below:
Sunlink Inc. / Southern Health Corp. of Ellijay may soon be closing the North Georgia Medical Center located in Ellijay.
Piedmont Mountainside Hospital Inc. has made an offer for a five year lease for the Emergency Room Care area of the hospital. The two are awaiting approval from the State Department of Community Health that is due by January 28th.
In a document obtained by FetchYourNews, Piedmont has submitted a Georgia Certificate of Need, Request for Determination. In the document, Piedmont Mountainside stated:
Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, Inc. (“Piedmont Mountainside”) proposes pursuant to this Determination to acquire existing equipment and supplies, and lease approximately 11, 000 square feet of space at North Georgia Medical Center, located at 1362 South Main Street, Ellijay, GA. As a result of such acquisition and long term Lease, Piedmont Mountainside proposes to offer outpatient emergency department services at the current location of the Emergency Department (” ED”) of North Georgia Medical Center (” NGMC”). The present owner of NGMC, Southern Health Corporation of Ellijay (” SHC”)— a subsidiary of Sunlink Healthcare— intends to close North Georgia Medical Center and cease offering all short stay hospital services, including emergency services, in that facility. Such a closure will leave a troubling gap in the provision of emergency healthcare services to the rural community in Gilmer County.
This Request for Determination could be contested, but if it is not contested and is approved by the state, it is not clear when the inpatient side of the hospital will close and Piedmont Mountainside will take over the emergency room.
FYN spoke with North Georgia Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Earl Whiteley about the possible closing of the hospital. Whiteley said that although the hospital would no longer have inpatient care the positive was that the community would still have emergency care services. If a person came in the emergency room and had to be admitted, the patient would then be moved to a hospital of their choice.
Many of these patients, however, are expected to travel to Piedmont Mountainside in Pickens County. Whiteley went on to tell us that Sunlink Inc. would continue to operate the nursing home and no changes should be expected there. Additionally, the Piedmont campus on Industrial Dr will be in the lease as well and is expected to continue operation.
To further understand the impact of this to Gilmer County, FYN spoke with Executive Director Chuck Scragg of the Greater Gilmer JDA who said
The UGA study said the Hospital and nursing home has a yearly $31 million dollar economic impact to Gilmer County. We will loose very high paying jobs here, as well as other sources of revenue as people will go to Mountainside Piedmont in Jasper for hospitalization. This change will take effect unless we contest it. We only have until January 27th to do so.
Whiteley indicated in the interview that rural hospitals are ‘under the gun’ with this making six rural hospitals to close in Georgia in the last two years. Currently the hospital employs 332 employees throughout all campuses.
While FYN has not learned of any final operating days yet, we are continuing to research this project as it develops and will update you as information becomes available. You can also read, in its entirety, the Request for Determination.
When we asked about details concerning the purchase price that Piedmont was paying the hospital, Whiteley referred us to Bob Thornton of Sunlink inc. for details on the transaction. FYN has reached out to Thornton and has not heard back from him at the time of this article.
FYN has also reached out to Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston for a comment about a hospital in his district possibly closing. FYN has also reached out to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Jasper for a comment concerning the transition and what citizens can expect. We currently await responses from both.
At this time, we understand the Request had also been sent to the County Commissioners and both City Mayors.
A tragic accident claimed a young man’s life at a Georgia Marble facility in Tate, GA. (more…)
Jasper, Ga. (April 29, 2011) – Piedmont Mountainside Hospital recently presented Mountainside Education Center High School with an AED, or an automatic external defibrillator. Sudden cardiac arrest strikes over 300,000 people in America each year, making it one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Because sudden cardiac arrest is related to abnormal heart rhythm, not to heart disease, young people as well as old can be at risk. One of the best ways to ensure survival when a cardiac arrest occurs is to receive early defibrillation.