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Emergency Care

Does your medical emergency really require a visit to the Emergency Department?

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In the current situation with COVID-19, it is essential to make sure that we reserve the emergency care resources for those who are in the worst of conditions. You should ensure that your circumstances are severe enough to warrant seeking emergency care as you put yourself, as well as others, at risk of disease when you visit a hospital.

What constitutes emergency care?

Typically, emergency care is for ailments that threaten the life or requires medical intervention so as not to become life-threatening. Some emergency care can be considered urgent care, which is for non-emergency or life-threatening situations.

Emergency Care vs. Urgent Care
Emergency care is for any situation that could potentially cause severe and permanent impairments or could be life-threatening. For these conditions, it is usually best to dial 911 and seek medical care. Examples of these types of situations could be compound fractures, seizures, uncontrollable bleeding, chest pain with shortness of breath, and other life-threatening conditions. Emergency care should be reserved for those who are in the most serious of conditions.

Urgent medical care, which is slightly different from emergency care, is for conditions that are not emergencies, but that still require medical attention within 24 hours of onset. Examples of these types of situations are cuts that need stitches, minor broken bones in fingers or toes, and other less severe injuries and illnesses. These injuries may seem to be small, but they too could become severe if left untreated, which is why it is essential to seek medical care.

Some medical conditions do not require medical care in the immediate future. For these medical conditions, you are better off making appointments with your primary care doctor. Examples of this type of care include annual checkups and regular monitoring of preconditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Community Hospital of Early is ready to care for your emergency needs.

We all do our best to stay healthy and hope that you never find yourself in a situation where you would have to seek emergency care. However, for those who do find themselves in circumstances where you must seek emergency medical care, Community Hospital of Early is ready to welcome you and provide the level of services that you need. Our Emergency Care Department employs highly skilled medical care workers who are certified in advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support.

We are prepared to treat our emergency care patients for any reason, including those suffering from COVID-19. Our hospital staff has been trained on how to screen patients effectively to minimize the spread of Coronavirus and we have deployed extra cleaning protocols to ensure extra sanitation for the safety of our patients and guests. We’re here for you because we’re all in this together.

Learn more about LifeBrite Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher. LifeBrite Hospital Group operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about what LifeBrite Hospital Group is doing to make healthcare better, visit our homepage.

Care Centers in US Are Prepared for Coronavirus

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US care centers and hospitals are ready for COVID-19 

As the number of coronavirus patients increases, hospitals across America are preparing for a pandemic. While hospitals and patient care centers have protocols and procedures for epidemics as seen with diseases such as the flu, a set plan was not in place for the novel coronavirus mainly because nobody knew it could pass to humans. These protocols are now being adapted for a COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

Mobilizing resources ahead of a coronavirus outbreak

While store shelves are wiped clean of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and sprays, hospitals, and care centers are checking their inventory and storage of these essential supplies. Many medical supply companies have place allotments on facilities, limiting the number of purchases allowed at any given time. These facilities are forced to put conservation plans into place, and some centers have gone so far as to cancel elective surgeries because of the low supply of gowns, gloves, and masks. 

New screening protocols for coronavirus patients 

One of the crucial measures that some care centers have put in place is to change the way they screen and triage their incoming patients and visitors. The new screening measures include immediately questioning those entering the facility regarding recent travel or interaction with those who have recently traveled as well as any symptoms that they are currently experiencing. 

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early is also asking that only true emergent-patients use the Emergency Room. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to the ER; call your primary care doctor for guidance. 

Care centers focused on preventative measures

While some hospitals and medical facilities are opting for new screening measures, others have decided to step up their preventive measures. These measures include more frequent sanitization of often touched items, such as elevator buttons, doorknobs, and switches. Many care centers have also increased their signs for patient education. These educational signs remind patients and visitors to cover their coughs and sneezes and to wash their hands frequently. 

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early is also restricting visitors to the hospital as a preventative measure. There are no visitors allowed for patients or employees, with some exceptions. Patients at the end of life are allowed visitors, minors may have one parent or guardian present, and mental health patients are allowed their caregiver as a visitor.  We know these are tough guidelines and restrictions but we are committed to patient and staff safety.  

Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early is ready 

Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early has a team of skilled medical professionals experienced in emergency care. There is also a trained team of Registered Respiratory Therapists who are experienced with SARS, a close cousin to COVID-19. With state of the art equipment and technology, Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early is prepared to handle any cases of the coronavirus that may come our way. 

This is a daily changing situation, and our procedures will continually be updated as new information becomes available. To stay up to date on this fluid situation, follow the CDC website

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Compassionate care for elderly patients

LifeBrite Early in your community: Services we provide

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Stability, continuity, sensitivity – LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early provides compassionate care that is close to home. Our goal is to ensure that all of our patients’ and residents’ needs are met in pleasant, home-like surroundings. 

Many people, however, may not know about all of the LifeBrite services available right here in their own backyard. 

These services include: 

  • sleep studies
  • endoscopy/colonoscopy
  • laboratory
  • physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • outpatient rehabilitation
  • swing bed program
  • long-term care
  • nursing home acute care
  • emergency room services
  • family medicine clinic
  • radiology

And much more. 

One of those services, Early Memorial Nursing Home, is specially equipped to provide a continuum of care to our area’s most vulnerable residents. 

Early Memorial Nursing Home, an affiliate of LifeBrite

The staff at Early Memorial Nursing Home is committed to providing our residents with the highest quality care and service. Our goal is to ensure that friendly and properly-trained associates meet all of our residents’ needs. 

These needs include providing a sense of “home,” as well as rehabilitative services, such as 

  • physical therapy;
  • occupational therapy;
  • speech therapy; and
  • pulmonary rehabilitation.

Long-term care at Early Memorial Nursing Home

At Early Memorial, we offer long-term care with skilled nursing services staffed with professionals who are prepared to assist your loved ones with regaining skills necessary to have the best quality of life possible. 

Our team of experienced, knowledgeable, caring, and energetic professionals motivates our residents to reach their highest potential. 

Laboratory services and x-ray services available

We also have a mobile laboratory service, and a mobile x-ray service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with technicians sensitive to the needs of our residents. STAT results are always available, as well. 

Dining options for our residents

Our dieticians know that proper nutrition is essential for optimal health and wellness goals, so we provide residents with their personal nutritional dietary needs. 

Cosmetology and barber services are also available

Many times, there’s nothing that makes our residents feel more at home and more like themselves than when they’re able to take advantage of cosmetology services on site. Sometimes looking good means feeling good.  

Early Memorial and our core values

Our medical director, Dr. Lamar Brand, is an independent medical doctor who aligns with our philosophy of “old fashioned values,” that is to say, our residents become like family. 

Call us today at 229-724-4243 to arrange a tour or for more information. We welcome all inquiries and are happy to share our home with your family. 


Learn more about LifeBrite 

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about what LifeBrite Laboratories is doing to make healthcare better, visit our homepage.

Mature man, performing a simple lung function test by using a triflow

LifeBrite Now Offering Pulmonary Rehab

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Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and other lung ailments minimize symptoms and maximize their lives.

However, a rehab program is only as good as the patient’s compliance with the plan. And studies show patients are more likely to follow through with rehab if they live closer to the facility where they receive treatment.

That’s why LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early is so excited to offer a pulmonary rehabilitation program in its facility in Blakely.

The new program, operated by United Pulmonary Group, launched in August and offers physician-directed, personalized, one-on-one treatment and rehabilitation for patients with cardiopulmonary disease.

 Jared Hatcher, who oversees the LifeBrite’s program, says often in rural areas, people have to drive one to two hours to a larger market for pulmonary rehab services.

“A lot of times, there is a pent up need for these services,” he said. But if a patient relies on someone else for transportation and has to make the trip out of town two or three times a week, they often don’t follow through.

“It’s very beneficial to have a program like this in your community,” he said. “It’s really exciting to be able to offer it. We’re getting a lot of interest.”

What is COPD?

COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes breathing problems. Exposure to cigarette smoke plays a role in developing COPD, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Air pollutants in the home and workplace, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also play a role.

Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus production, and wheezing. COPD increases the risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and several other conditions. 

There is no cure, but it can be treated to slow its progression. Treatment options include quitting smoking and starting a pulmonary rehab program like the one offered by LifeBrite. 

Benefits of pulmonary rehab

Why is it important to have this program at LifeBrite?  Because pulmonary rehabilitation has been proven to reduce respiratory symptoms and:

  •     Improve exercise performance
  •     Improve mood ( by lowering depression and anxiety)
  •     Increase knowledge about pulmonary disease and its management
  •     Reduce hospitalizations and use of medical resources
  •     Help some patients return to work

Area physicians refer patients to the program for diagnostic testing, therapeutic exercise, educational training, outcomes assessment, and individualized treatment plans.
Don’t put off treatment of your emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or COPD any longer. Breathe better now and improve your quality of life! 

To learn more about LifeBrite’s pulmonary rehabilitation program, call 229-723-4241.

 

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Laboratories and LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes. To learn more about Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early, visit our homepage.

Medical professionals respond to emergencies during Hurricane Michael

Lessons learned from the worst hurricane in state history

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Scientists in the United States have been tracking hurricanes since 1850, but modern technology has improved our knowledge about the storms. Although weather experts can predict hurricane paths and strengths, it is still difficult to prepare for the devastation that results when nature violently clashes with our communities.

Emergency teams and city leaders along the gulf coast had been meeting for several days going over scenarios and preparing for potential landfall. When Hurricane Michael made its final turn northeast toward the Florida panhandle, residents of southern Alabama, and much of southwest and central Georgia, braced for impact.

Delivering a baby during the worst hurricane in Georgia history

“During Hurricane Michael, we had lost power, there were trees down blocking roads, and we got a call that a woman who was 27 weeks pregnant was in labor,” said Ginger Cushing, administrator of Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early in Blakely, Georgia. “Police ended up bringing her into the hospital, and we delivered the baby. But we had to make a decision to send our team with the baby to a hospital with a NICU.”

That decision to send the team was a lesson in cooperation and perseverance.

The infant’s mother walked more than a mile before being spotted by local police and transported to Lifebrite. She delivered the baby almost immediately, and the hospital staff began searching for a way to get the baby to the nearest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) two counties away.

The team was in communication with the NICU staff at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, but air transport systems were grounded as far away as Birmingham. The NICU staff left Albany by ambulance but could not reach Blakely. The Emergency Medical Team began working to help clear the roads with a chainsaw and eventually hitched a ride with the father of a marine who helped them get to the hospital.

When the Lifebrite team and the Phoebe team connected, they made certain the baby was stabilized before transporting her and her mother to Columbus, where beds were available in another hospital.

Lessons learned after the storm

More than a year later, the lessons learned during Hurricane Michael still resonate throughout southwest Georgia. The collaborative efforts of three different hospital systems and the efforts of emergency medical teams worked as planned to provide quality care for the community in a time of crisis.

Hurricanes are not solely a coastal event. They can inflict damage and injuries hundreds of miles inland. Before it was over, Hurricane Michael is responsible for as many as 75 deaths and caused more than $25 billion in damages.

After the storm, the National Hurricane Center re-evaluated and upgraded Hurricane Michael to a Category 5 hurricane—making it the strongest to ever hit the Florida panhandle and the first major storm to hit Georgia since the 1800s.


Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Laboratories and LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes. To learn more about Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early, visit our homepage.

Man in bed covering his face with a clock on a nightstand that says 3:24 a.m.

Need a Nap? Maybe You Need a Sleep Study

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Do you toss and turn all night? Do you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all? Do you have dark circles under your eyes and doze off at work? If so, it may be time for you to look at what’s going on with your sleep cycle.

Proper sleep plays a vital role in overall well-being. Most people need eight hours of quality sleep to function well. An occasional bad night of sleep is common. But several sleepless nights in a row can spell trouble.

Did you know that poor sleep can negatively impact your appearance, your immune system, and even the way your brain performs? It can also slow your metabolism and increase your risk of depression and cancer.

A sleep study, now offered through LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, can help determine what’s keeping you from getting the rest you need.

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study, also called a polysomnogram, is an overnight diagnostic test that allows doctors to monitor your brain and body while you sleep. Patients usually spend the night in a sleep lab or hospital.

While you sleep, an electroencephalogram (EEG) monitors your sleep stages (REM sleep, non-REM sleep) for disruptions and patterns. The study also measures eye movements, heart and breathing rates, snoring and body movement.

Who needs a sleep study?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep studies can help diagnose sleep disorders such as:

  • Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep.
  • Restless leg syndrome, a sleep-related movement disorder characterized by overwhelming and unpleasant urges to move the legs while at rest.
  • Shift work disorder, a condition affecting people whose wake and sleep pattern is out of sync with the body’s biological clock. 
  • Narcolepsy, a disorder with symptoms that include excessive sleepiness, sleep paralysis, hallucinations and, in some cases, sudden loss of muscle control.

Sleep Study At LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early

If you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, loud snoring, mood swings, and headaches, call LifeBrite to learn more about sleep studies.

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Laboratories and LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes. To learn more about Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early, visit our homepage.

 

Nurse takes blood pressure of an elderly woman during a free health screening.

In the Community: Cindy Hiatt Shares Hospital’s Services

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Once or twice a week, Cindy Hiatt hits the road to visit residents in area counties and share all of the health offerings available to them at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early.

Hiatt brings LifeBrite health fairs and screenings to senior centers in Early, Calhoun, Seminole and Randolph counties in Georgia. She also crosses into Alabama periodically to bring her message to residents of Ashford and Columbia in Alabama.

“We are trying to educate the residents in these communities about diet, nutrition, our physical therapy program, and rehab programs,” Hiatt said.“We also want them to know about our skilled nursing facility and our 117-bed nursing home facility.”

In addition to her seven to eight visits a year to senior centers in the region, Hiatt also meets with patients at nearby hospitals and health facilities with referrals to LifeBrite for hospital rehab services.

It’s all part of LifeBrite Hospital Community of Early’s efforts to get the word out about all the health services offered by the facility.

‘Heart for this community’

Hiatt returned to Blakely, Ga., two years ago after 25 years in Atlanta to act as the hospital’s community outreach representative and educator. She restarted the outreach initiative, which had been on a three-year hiatus, modeling it after a program operated by The Southwest Georgia Council on Aging. 

“I have a heart for this community. I feel strongly about what we have to offer. I want patients to know they don’t have to go out of town to get the care they need,” said Hiatt.

During Hiatt’s visits, a phlebotomist with the hospital’s lab is also on-site to take blood for free lab work. Health fair attendees who participate in the free testing receive results within five days, along with information about the results.

“We ask them to write down the name of their family physician. We let them know they need to follow their physician’s guidance once they get the results. We are just encouraging good community health,” she said.

Rural Hospital in Georgia is more than an ER

Hiatt says people are surprised when they hear about the services offered at LifeBrite, a designated critical access hospital.

“People don’t realize we can also do sleep studies, endoscopies and colonoscopies. Those are the things I’m trying to get out there,” she said.

Other services include:

  • Acute care for illnesses or injuries requiring a short hospital stay and basic nursing, respiratory, laboratory, rehabilitation and diagnostic services.
  • 24/7 emergency room services to treat those unexpected injuries and ailments.
  • Surgical services include wound care, endoscopy, and colonoscopy.
  • Swing-bed services for patients who no longer require acute care, but still need nursing and rehabilitative care to help them recover.
  • Physical and occupational therapy as well as respiratory therapy for inpatients and outpatients. 

The hospital will soon offer pulmonary rehabilitation services as well, Hiatt said. “Not a lot of rural hospitals offer that. But we will have a 12-week, physician-directed program for patients with cardiopulmonary disease.” 

Hiatt loves her job and loves promoting a facility that she says makes the community healthier and stronger.

“Coming back here after my time in Atlanta, I was blown away at the service, attention and time our patients get when they come into this hospital. We have patients that don’t want to go home. That’s a great thing to hear,” she said.

Gnger Cushing from LifeBrite Early

5 Questions with LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early’s Ginger Cushing

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Ginger Cushing From LifeBrite Community Hospital in Early

Ask Ginger Cushing what makes LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early special and she says: “We have a hometown feel. Our employees are family and we want to serve other families in need.”

Cushing, who serves as the administrator of the rural hospital, has a lifelong bond with the facility and the people who work there. She says that family feeling and dedication to serving the community makes the hospital special. She is on a mission to make sure others know about LifeBrite so they can take advantage of it and support this community gem.

“We have some services that many people may not know we offer such as sleep studies, pulmonary rehabilitation, ultrasound/echocardiogram, industrial contracts for drug screenings, swing bed services with rehab, and a 117-bed nursing home. “Our quality is great, as evidenced by hospital accreditation surveys and state nursing home surveys, ”Ms. Cushing said.

Cushing took time out of her busy schedule recently to answer a few questions about her career and her thoughts about the rural hospital and the community.

Where were you born?

Blakely Ga., in Early County, in the very hospital I am working today.

Tell me about your first job at the hospital and what other positions you have held there.

I was a staff RN in the ER and Medical/Surgical floors. I was also a Nurse Manager, Director of Nursing, Patient Services Director, and finally Administrator.

What is an average day like for you?

I do the census, then the utilization review committee in the morning, then operational projects, emails, staff meetings, communications with department heads and providers.

What’s your most memorable experience working for LifeBrite?

During Hurricane Michael, we had lost power, there were trees down blocking roads and we got a call that a woman who was 27 weeks pregnant was in labor. Police ended up bringing her into the hospital and we delivered the baby. But we had to make a decision to send our team with the baby to a hospital with a NICU.

What’s the biggest challenge for a critical access hospital today?

Serving the under-insured and those with no insurance is challenging. Educating the community is also challenging as we want our patients to utilize the appropriate treatment areas of our campus. Reimbursements also are lower and there are cuts from the federal government in every direction.

Overall, it is clear that Ginger Cushing is proud to serve the community where she lives and feels good about the difference LifeBrite makes in their neighbors’ lives every day.

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Laboratories and LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes. To learn more about Lifebrite Community Hospital of Early, visit our homepage.

nurse talks to an elderly man at the LifeBrite Nursing Home

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early: Healthcare for Your Family

By Uncategorized

Like most small farm towns, Blakely, Ga., is rich in character but limited in its resources, which means residents often have to travel to larger cities for services they can’t find in their community.

Thanks to LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, quality healthcare isn’t one of them.

The facility offers a range of services, from acute care and emergency services to transitional care, occupational and physical therapy services, and a nursing care facility.

A Critical Access Hospital

LifeBrite is designated as a critical access hospital (CAH). Critical access hospitals play a vital role in maintaining access to high-quality health care services in rural communities.

According to the American Hospital Association, critical access hospitals like LifeBrite provide care to millions of Americans living in vulnerable rural and urban communities. In fact, Congress created the critical access hospital designation in 1997 to help protect and preserve smaller hospitals providing quality healthcare in vulnerable areas.

In order to gain CAH designation a hospital must:

  • Be 35 miles from another hospital.
  • Have a 24-hour emergency room that operates seven days a week.
  • Have a maximum of 25 inpatient beds for acute care or swing-bed services.
  • Maintain an annual average length of stay of 96 hours or less for acute care patients.

One-stop healthcare facility

As a one-stop healthcare facility for Blakely, LifeBrite ’s services include:

  • Acute care for illnesses or injuries requiring a short hospital stay and basic nursing, respiratory, laboratory, rehabilitation, and diagnostic services.
  • 24/7 emergency room services to treat those unexpected injuries and ailments.
  • Surgical services include wound care, endoscopy, and colonoscopy
  • Swing-bed services for patients who no longer require acute care, but still need nursing and rehabilitative care to help them recover.
  • Physical and occupational therapy as well as respiratory therapy for inpatients and outpatients. Therapy programs are designed to maximize independence and safety following illness, injury, and/or surgery.
  • Early Memorial Nursing Home is a 117-bed skilled nursing facility with access to the main hospital resources.

Serving the community

LifeBrite is more than a hospital; it’s a healthcare facility ready to serve residents in Early County in all stages of life. In February, the hospital hosted a health fair at the Seminole Senior Center. In April, LifeBrite Early held a spring health fair at the hospital complete with face painting, car seat safety checks, and health screenings. And in May, LifeBrite Early provided free physicals for 200 Early County middle and high school students.

LifeBrite is proud to serve the community where we live and feel good about the difference we make in our neighbors’ lives every day.

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early Places on Quality Honor Roll

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ATLANTA – LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early in Blakely has been named to the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) Core Measures Honor Roll. LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early is one of 23 hospitals in Georgia to be placed in the Presidential category, one of the highest on the list. The honor roll is based on clinical data provided by the federal Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), which administers the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid programs. The data was collected from October 2012 to September 2013.

Hospitals are required to submit care data to CMS, which details how well a hospital’s caregivers adhere to a list of Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) core measures. These measures are the clinical processes of care that are known to be the most effective methods of treatment for surgical patients and patients who have suffered heart attacks, pneumonia and heart failure.

For instance, a recommended treatment to help prevent a heart attack is to take aspirin either before or upon arrival at the hospital, as well as at discharge. It is recommended that surgery patients are given an antibiotic one hour prior to surgery to prevent infection. The VBP core measure is a composite measure that determines whether or not a patient received the right care at the right time. A hospital’s adherence to these recommended clinical practices usually leads to better outcomes.

“We are pleased to recognize LifeBrite commitment to patient safety,” said Earl V. Rogers, president of GHA. “Compliance with these important core measures ensures that every patient receives the best, most effective health care possible.”

“We constantly strive to maintain the highest standard of patient care,” said Allen Gamble, Chief Executive Officer of LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early. “This honor validates that and is a tribute to the dedication of the staff members who ensure that great patient care is made even better.”

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early is a 25 Bed Critical Access Hospital located in Blakely Georgia. LifeBrite Health Services of Magee Mississippi has operated the facility under an agreement with the Hospital Authority of Early County since October of 2010. The facility is nationally accredited by DNV Healthcare.