Valdosta Daily Times

June 20, 2013

On Wednesday, the Spine Care Center at South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospitals was recognized as the best program of its kind in Georgia and one of the top 100 hospitals in the country.

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Spine Care Center at South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospital was named the best in Georgia Wednesday.

Representatives from Healthgrades, an independent company that ranks all 4,500 acute care hospitals nationwide, presented the award to the neurosurgeons responsible for the spine surgery program. Dr. Edward Mark, Dr. Hitham Khalil, Dr. Eric Gee and Dr. James Goss were all recognized, although Dr. Goss was in surgery and could not attend the ceremony.

“We want to make this Number One ranking a trend for SGMC,” said Dr. Gee.

Not only was the program named the best in the state, it was also named as part of the top 100 hospitals in the country for spine care, making the program one of the top 10 percent in the country.

“The survey looks at a number of factors, particularly patient outcomes, and this center had better than expected outcomes, which is why they’re now one of the best in the country,” said Jason Mione of Healthgrades. “This is a 5-star facility, which means you have a 61 percent lower chance of having complications than you would at a 1-star facility.”

Mione added that 5-star facilities share similar qualities, including a culture of transparency and a focus on quality.

Dr. Mark said, “You can be the best in the world and not get this award if you don’t have a good team behind you.”

Dr. Khalil echoed his sentiments, thanking the support team of nurses, the operating team, administrators and office personnel.

“Now we have more pressure on us to keep this standard,” Khalil said.

SGMC Chief Executive

Officer Randy Sauls said the hospitals’ goal is to provide the environment for physicians to do what they do best, which is practice medicine.

According to Sauls, more than 1,500 spine patients chose SGMC and Smith Northview over leaving town from 2009 to 2011.

“These awards validate their decision to stay local to receive their health care.”