University Hospital partners with radiologists on imaging center
University Hospital in Augusta plans to file a CON to develop a comprehensive imaging center in partnership with a group of 12 local radiologists. The two entities will form a limited liability corporation to build a $7 million facility in Evans. The hospital will spend about $1.7 million to build the center and lease it back to the partnership, which will borrow about $5.2 million to outfit and equip the building. The facility will be the first full-service imaging center in Columbia County, which is projected to be among the top 10 fastest growing counties in the state.

Southern Regional Health System lends helping hand
Responding to a need in the community, Southern Regional Health System (SRHS) donated time, food and cash to help a local care-giving organization. On July 18, the Clayton County Kinship Care Resource Center in Jonesboro was burglarized, resulting in the loss of hundreds of dollars in food and other basic items. The center provides services to grandparents raising their grandchildren, and other relative caregivers in parent-absent homes.

In addition to food products, SRHS made a cash donation to help in the center's efforts to replenish the stolen items. A weeklong collection drive took place from July 22-29 in areas throughout the hospital. Employees responded by donating canned food items, other non-perishable food items, diapers, toiletry products, school supplies and cash. On Aug. 1, SRHS' CEO, Ed Bonn, and other representatives from the hospital presented the items and a check in the amount of $800 to the center.

DeKalb physicians form private practice group
Emergency department physicians at Decatur's DeKalb Medical Center have formed an independent physician group that is modeled after an affiliate of the California Emergency Physicians

Medical Group in Oakland, Calif. DeKalb Emergency Physicians, LLP, features broad physician ownership and equity in its practices. It will use the Rapid Medical Evaluation Program (RME) at the new DeKalb Medical Center at Hillandale, located in Lithonia. The program is proven to decrease patient wait time in the emergency department. Lela Gail Matthews, M.D., was named as assistant medical director of operations, and Frank Rasler, M.D., was named as assistant medical director of quality improvement.

Emory University plans expansion, renovation
Atlanta-based Emory University Hospital has submitted a request to the state to spend $18.4 million on a renovation and expansion project. The project also will include the purchase of a new CT scanner.

Macon hospital seeks $780k in unpaid bills from city
Medical Center of Central Georgia wants the city of Macon to pay $763,200 in medical bills and $15,900 in fees. The bills date back to October 2003 and resulted from more than 100 people being taken to the hospital by the police for sexual assault treatment or testing. Charges range from $36 to $200,265. Medical Center of Central Georgia billed the city for each account shortly after services were rendered. If the city does not pay the bills, the hospital plans to file a lawsuit to recover the money.

Medical Center of Central Georgia opens heartburn treatment center
The Heartburn Treatment Center of Georgia at the Medical Center of Central Georgia opened in Macon. It is the first facility in the state that specializes in a multi-disciplinary approach to treating heartburn. It uses patent-pending technology from Legato Medical Systems Inc. that brings together various physician specialists that treat advanced heartburn. The facility is located in the Center for Ambulatory Services.

State to rule on WellStar Kennestone's CyberKnife CON
The state will rule in September 2005 on Marietta-based WellStar Kennestone Hospital's CON for a CyberKnife. Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta opposed the CON on the basis that it would result in unnecessary duplication of services in the area. Both Piedmont and Emory Healthcare use the Triology system. CyberKnife uses high doses of radiation to precisely target tumors. WellStar says CyberKnife has different capabilities than other technology, and that it would use the device in more than 1,500 procedures a year.

Peach Regional plans replacement hospital
Peach Regional Medical Center (PRMC) filed a letter of intent with the state to build a replacement hospital on 20 acres on the GA 247 Connector in Peach County. The new hospital is estimated to cost between $15 million and $17 million. PRMC may seek additional funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Construction is expected to begin in 2006 and will take two years. PRMC's current facility is more than 50 years old and serves more than 25,000 patients annually.

Southwest Hospital acquired by doctors group
Southwest Doctors Group, LLC, completed its $14.75 million acquisition of Southwest Hospital & Medical Center. The group hopes to reopen the hospital by mid-October 2005. It will need to raise between $8 million and $9 million to repair the facility and begin operations. About $3 million in renovations is planned before limited medical services can begin. Long-term plans include building a $150 million, state-of-the-art "medical village" that could open within three years.

Grady Health sues Department of Community Health
Atlanta-based Grady Health System filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court against the Georgia Department of Community Health over Medicaid reimbursements for indigent care. Grady claims it should have received $3.2 million more from the indigent care pool. In December 2004, Grady joined large hospital systems in Macon and Savannah to challenge the state's formula for dividing about $227 million for the treatment of uninsured and poor patients. The indigent care fund reimburses hospitals based on the percentage of Medicaid and uninsured patients they treat. The Department of Community Health said it will lose $300 million a year in federal money because a congressional investigative agency found the state was wrongly receiving the funds.

Memorial Health, Piedmont named "Most Wired"
Memorial Health of Savannah and Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta were named to the 7th annual list of the 100 Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems. The list is based on a benchmarking survey that is co-sponsored by H&HN, IDX Systems Corp., Accenture, and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The scoring methodology emphasized the use of IT for patients and customers, and responses reflect technologies that were fully implemented as of March 1, 2005. Sixty percent of the points were allocated among safety and quality, customer service and public health and safety. The remaining 40 percent of the points were awarded for hospital operational goals: workforce and business processes. Memorial has made the list six out of seven times it has been published, and Piedmont has placed twice.

Candler to open Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion
The 56,000-square-foot Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion at St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital will open in November 2005. The facility, which is located adjacent to the Savannah-based hospital, will consolidate nearly all oncology services and offer about 30 clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute in partnership with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute in Tampa, Fla. The $24 million facility is named in honor of the Lewis family in recognition of an unspecified gift toward the project. A campaign is underway within the community to raise $10 million for the center. So far, $7.2 million has been donated.

Southern Regional to upgrade surgical suites
Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale filed a CON to renovate its first floor inpatient surgical suites. The project is estimated to cost $6.2 million.

Preventing heat stress and injury among young athletes
Progressively increasing practice time and intensity and ensuring that football players are replacing lost fluids during training are two ways to significantly reduce the risk of heat stress and injury during preseason practice, according to an expert panel convened by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Coaches also should allow enough recovery between practices and gradually introduce parts of the uniform. To help protect ill-prepared players, coaches should introduce a training schedule that progresses slowly, waiting until week No. 2 to introduce twice-daily conditioning and training sessions.

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