Category Archives: Health Care

Copy of certificate of need application

DCH approves Certificate of Need for Columbia County hospital

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to inform you that the Department of Community Health has approved our Certificate of Need application to build a hospital in Columbia County.We are grateful that the DCH team has embraced our plan, and we are confident that this is a major win for the communities in and around Columbia County.

We also commend DCH for the time, effort, and care put into evaluating the need and considering each hospital’s proposal.Both University Health System and Doctors Hospital provide quality health care services, and we will continue to look for ways to partner with them as we work to meet the growing health care needs for both Columbia County and the entire region.

We appreciate all of you who supported our proposal and submitted letters of support to DCH on our behalf. Additionally, we thank the many of you who worked on the front lines and behind the scenes to help us develop and present a very forward-thinking proposal for this project.

Today’s decision is just the beginning. We have much work to do as we begin the planning and design phase of our first-of-its-kind, state-of-the-art, smart hospital.

As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for the opportunities this new project will afford, and we are thankful for the opportunity to expand our footprint for the greater good.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,

Shawn P. Vincent, Sr.
Vice President of Partnerships, International Healthcare and Strategic Affiliations


Watch: Tissue donation helps turn tragedy into healing

WRDW-TV News 12: Nov. 25, 2014

The tissue bank at Georgia Regents Medical Center is unique because it’s one of the only hospital based tissue banks in the entire country. Everything that’s donated at GRMC, goes to help people right here in our community.

carl eubanks

“All the physicians know we are here, so when families say I need a bone transplant or a tendon transplant, then the physicians call us and we provide that piece of tissue to the operating rooms and the local hospitals that work with us,” said Director Carl Eubanks.

With advances in modern medicine, Eubanks says bone collected from tissue donors is saving lives and limbs. Skin can be used to help heal wounds on burn patients. Eye donations can help people see again. Veins can help correct heart problems, and tendons can help athletes get back in the game.

Watch the full story.

Seminar discusses how to communicate adverse outcomes and errors

James Pichert 2Dr. James W. Pichert, Co-Director of the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy at Vanderbilt University, presented The How and When of Communicating Adverse Outcomes and Errors” on Nov. 19. The seminar, hosted by the Georgia Regents University Medical Associates Risk Management Committee, covered a wide selection of topics ranging from identifying errors as they occur to disclosing accurate and effective information in the event of a crisis.

Designed to help health care professionals improve their communication and disclosure skills, the seminar has a long history of proven effectiveness. Pichert has hosted similar seminars in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

“The How and When of Communicating Adverse Outcomes and Errors” is a unique approach to educating health care professionals. Based around Vanderbilt CPPA’s “balance beam” approach, health care professionals are encouraged to weigh the pros and cons of their options when faced with disclosing information and judge for themselves how best to move forward.

Afterward, attendees are instructed and encouraged to host similar seminars and workshops at their home institutions. The ultimate goal of Pichert’s seminar is to improve institution-wide communication and alleviate the fear of disclosing information after errors or mistakes occur.

For more information about Vanderbilt University’s Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, visit

ALS patient NeuRx

ALS patient gets diaphragm pacemaker

NeuRx Diaphragmatic Pacing System may improve longevity, quality of life for ALS patients

AUGUSTA, Ga. – For her 67th birthday, Lettie Sue Abercrombie enjoyed a scenic mountain drive with her husband and a surprise party attended by nearly 50 family members and friends. Five days later, the Danielsville grandmother became the second patient at Georgia Regents Medical Center to receive a NeurRx Diaphragm Pacing System – a device that could help Abercrombie, who has ALS, have a better quality of life and see a few more birthdays.

“I am excited to be able to get this new machine. My breathing has been pretty good, but I can’t exert myself like I used to,” said the retired medical assistant who was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in May 2013. Often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a rapidly progressing, incurable and fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by systematic muscle weakness that results in paralysis. “As my diaphragm gets weaker, the device will stimulate it,” reminding her body to breathe, a process that will become more and more difficult as the ALS advances.

Watch the TV story.

“Most ALS patients develop chronic hypoventilation over the course of their disease,” said Dr. Michael H. Rivner, Director of the Georgia Regents ALS Clinic. “In normal respiration, people breathe deeply and often enough to clear the carbon dioxide carried to the lungs for elimination. But when people hypoventilate, they breathe too shallowly or slowly, reducing oxygen intake and producing dangerously high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Traditionally, we could only assist our patients with non-invasive ventilation. Now, we can provide the opportunity for a patient to breathe for a longer period without needing a mechanical ventilator, essentially offering a better quality of life,” Rivner explained.

Implanted through minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, the Diaphragm Pacing System includes four electrodes for stimulating the diaphragm muscle, and a fifth electrode under the skin to complete the circuit. The other components are a connector holder, a cable, and an external battery-powered pulse generator.

“The pulse generator regulates movement of the diaphragm muscle, creating a vacuum-like effect in the chest cavity that draws air into the lungs. Then, when the contraction eases, the air is expelled,” said Dr. Vijay Patel, the cardiothoracic surgeon who implanted the device. “Put simply, the pacemaker provides electrical stimulation to the muscle and nerves in the diaphragm, contracting the diaphragm and conditioning those muscles to resist fatigue.”

The device is programmed to allow an effective yet comfortable breath. Each patient must begin with a regimen of three 30-minute sessions a day to condition the diaphragm muscle. Then, as ALS progresses and breathing weakens, the conditioning time increases.

“The goal is to provide patients both comfort and longevity,” said Patel.

Approximately 30,000 people in the United States live with ALS, and more than 5,600 new cases are diagnosed each year. An estimated 3,300 ALS patients could benefit from this new pacing system.

“We are tickled that she got it put in,” said Herschel Abercrombie, now a full-time caregiver to his wife who can no longer walk or even lift her legs. She gets around in a power chair and with a special hoist installed in the ceiling of their home. Mr. Abercrombie bathes her, clothes her, and cooks for her.

It’s not quite the retirement – traveling, camping, and fishing together – that he had envisioned with the woman he’s loved since high school. But he’s thankful for every day they are given, days that could increase based on previous outcomes with the device.

“It’s all in the Lord’s hands,” he says. “We pray every day that God will take care of her; but if he heals her or takes her to heaven, she’s a winner either way.”

About the ALS Clinic
The nationally accredited Georgia Regents ALS Clinic serves about 150 patients across the Southeast. The clinic, which opened in 2004 through a partnership with the ALS Association of Georgia, takes a multidisciplinary and coordinated approach to patient care. Instead of scheduling multiple appointments and trips, patients are able to see neurologists; nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; social workers; dietitians; respiratory therapists; and equipment specialists all on the same day. This is especially helpful for ALS patients because of diminishing mobility. The Georgia Regents ALS team sees patients on the second Friday of each month in Augusta and the fourth Friday of each month at a satellite clinic in Macon. They assess disease progression, functional status, and family concerns, as well as equipment, transportation, and referral needs. In addition, family and caregiver training and support are incorporated into the time spent with each patient. For more information, call 706-721-2681.


Lefebvre Installed as Secretary of the American College of Prosthodontists

Dr. Carol A. Lefebvre, Dean of the Georgia Regents University College of Dental Medicine, has been installed as Secretary to the Board of Directors of the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP). Dr. Lefebvre was sworn in during the 44th Annual Session of the American College of Prosthodontists in New Orleans  Nov. 5-8.

Lefebvre has been an ACP member for 30 years. From her former role as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry to judge for the John J. Sharry Research Competition, Dr. Lefebvre is dedicated to the prosthodontic specialty.

Lefebvre is also a professor in the Oral Rehabilitation and Oral Biology departments in the College of Dental Medicine and the College of Graduate Studies.

“I look forward to beginning my tenure in this position, as I am committed and honored to be serving my specialty in leadership roles,” Lefebvre said.

The American College of Prosthodontists is the sponsoring organization for the specialty of Prosthodontics, one of nine recognized specialties of the American Dental Association. See for more information


Story of triplets to air on Radiothon

CMN fundraiser will broadcast live Dec. 4-6 from Children’s Hospital of Georgia lobby

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jennifer McGahee has a trick up her sleeve to help tell her triplet girls apart. “I think we’ll paint their toenails different colors, said the Athens mother as she packed to take the babies home in September. “Elise will be pink, Kate will be purple, and Lucy will be red.”

Elise (l-r),Kate, and Lucy, daughters of Jennifer and Jason McGahee of Athens, spent 82 days in the Children’s Hospital of Georgia NICU before going home Sept. 18. The family will share the story of their care at CHOG during the 14th annual Cares For Kids Radiothon, a fundraiser for the not-for-profit hospital airing Dec. 4-6 on WBBQ 104.3, KISS 96.3, and G105.7 FM

Born at just 27 ½ weeks, the babies spent 82 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Georgia until their tiny bodies were healthy enough to go home. And when that day came, all three were discharged together, a rarity for premature multiples. The McGahees credit the care they received at CHOG’s level IV NICU – the highest in the state – for this remarkable outcome.

“They took such amazing care of them. We are so pleased with our experience there.”

To hear the full story on the McGahee triplets, tune into Augusta radio stations WBBQ 104.3, KISS 96.3, and the new G105.7 FM as they broadcast live from the lobby of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia during the 14th annual Cares for Kids Radiothon. Dozens of miracle stories featuring patients, families and staff will be shared on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-6, during this fundraiser for the area’s only dedicated children’s hospital. Hours are: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Pledges can be made online at and during the Radiothon by calling locally at 706-922-KIDS (5437) or toll-free at 1-866-412-KIDS (5437). Donors can become “Miracle Makers” by pledging just $15 a month.

The Radiothon is the largest single Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Nearly $190,000 was raised in 2013.

The 154-bed not-for-profit Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the second largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children. Visit or follow on Twitter at


Hess tapped for Leadership Development

Caryl HessAUGUSTA, Ga. – Dr. Caryl Hess, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Professional Development for Hess & Associates Consulting, has been named Director of Leadership Development for Georgia Regents University. She will assume her new role on Dec. 1.

Hess will oversee the GRLeadership Academy, a program that cultivates leadership qualities in faculty and staff who aspire to executive leadership positions. She also will be a key leader in the development and management of the curriculum, policies, and protocols regarding research and scholarship opportunities.

“I am very honored to have been selected for this position,” said Hess. “GRU already has a great foundation in leadership competence education. However, I am looking forward to working with all GRU employees and students as we move into the next phase of developing great leaders at our institution.”

Hess is the former director of the Cleveland Clinic Academy as well as the founder and director of the Clinic’s three revenue generating programs, Samson Global Leadership Academy, Executive Education Speakers Bureau, and Executive Visitors’ Program.

During her five years at Cleveland Clinic, Hess managed the health system’s leadership development programs in the United States, Canada and Abu Dhabi for 43,000 employees, including nurses and physicians. In addition, she consulted, presented and published scholarly articles related to leadership development globally.

She also supervised the clinic’s fund raising in which she helped secure external funding totaling $10 million to develop and implement the Samson Global Leadership Academy, Cleveland Clinic’s global leadership program for healthcare executives.

Prior to working at the Cleveland Clinic, Hess served at the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in various leadership positions, including the Assistant to the President, the Chief of Staff, the Director of Strategic Academic Planning, undergraduate faculty, and the Interim Executive Director of Institutional Advancement.

While at CWRU, she assisted in numerous initiatives including the development of the university’s first campus-wide strategic academic planning process resulting in a three-year strategic plan. She also directed the institution’s donor relations efforts while managing corporate and foundations data.

As an award-winning expert in fields such as curriculum development and program assessment, Hess is a highly sought-after speaker, and her research has been featured in several publications such as the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.

She is a member of the Academy of Management’s Division of Organizational Development and the American Society for Training and Development. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from Baldwin Wallace University.

She also attended the University of Akron where she received bachelor’s degrees in political science, marketing, and education and her master’s and doctoral degrees in education.

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Georgia Regents University is one of four public comprehensive research universities in the state with nearly 10,000 students enrolled in its nine colleges and schools, which include the Medical College of Georgia – the nation’s 13th-oldest medical school – the nationally-ranked Hull College of Business and Georgia’s only College of Dental Medicine. The clinical enterprise associated with the university includes the 478-bed Georgia Regents Medical Center and the 154-bed Children’s Hospital of Georgia. GRU is a unit of the University System of Georgia and an equal opportunity institution.


$120,000 given for Camp Lakeside

On behalf of Club Car, the Ingersoll Rand Foundation donated $120,000 to the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta and Children’s Hospital of Georgia to support the renovation of Camp Lakeside in Lincoln County. The goal is to create an adapted camp facility for children with special needs and life-threatening conditions, including cancer and diabetes.

Many of CHOG’s patients and families will benefit from a camp that is housed closer to the Children’s Hospital, as most of the existing camps would be relocated there. Officials say the camp could be ready by 2016.

In the picture with the ceremonial check are (L-R): Danny McConnell, President and CEO of the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta; Jim Mumford, Administrator of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia; and Club Car Representatives Trish Yount, Operations Manager; Marc Dufour, President and CEO; Bryan Mash, Vice President of Human Resources; and Jason Goldberg, Vice President of Services.


Dance Dash on Saturday supports CHOG

AUGUSTA, Ga. – You can get some exercise and have a little fun at the inaugural Dance Dash 5K, benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, in the CHOG circular drive, this 5K with a twist combines dancing, running, and walking to raise funds for the area’s only children’s hospital.

Don’t know how to dance? No problem. Instructors from Pulse Dance Center will teach steps at three stations along the route. At the finish line, participants will combine the moves they’ve learned in a flash mob dance finale.

Registration, which includes a T-shirt, is $35 and can be completed in advance through the website or at the event beginning at 7 a.m. Participants are encouraged to seek donations for the Children’s Hospital and turn those in at the Dash. For more information, contact Catherine Stewart at or 706-721-4004.

Dance Dash 5K is sponsored by Coke, WRDW-TV News12, The Bradley Schools, Barney’s Pharmacy, First Bank of Georgia, and All Star Transportation.

The 154-bed not-for-profit Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the second largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children. Visit or follow on Twitter at