Wellstar WGMC receives three honors that rank it among top hospitals

Published 9:30 am Saturday, June 10, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

It’s been an award-winning Spring for Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center.

Last weekend, the hospital was announced as a first-time winner of the Georgia Oglethorpe Award, which goes to high-performing, role-model organizations who demonstrate superior management approaches and role-model results. The award’s recipients are from both the public and private sector and are not limited to the healthcare profession.

But that’s not the only significant honor the hospital has received recently.

WGMC was also given an “A” hospital score by the Leapfrog group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits.

And, on top of that, the hospital recently achieved Pathway to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the eighth hospital in Georgia to be awarded the designation and one of 203 hospitals nationwide, according to data on the Pathway’s website. 

“What those awards are saying is you’re providing a culture and an environment that provides the best outcomes,” said WGMC President Coleman Foss. “So the big winner in this situation is the people of our service area because it means that our commitment to excellence, our commitment to processes, our commitment to outcomes, is validated.”

The Sterling Council oversees the Governor’s Sterling Award for Performance Excellence and the Georgia Oglethorpe Award, which is based on the national Malcolm Baldrige Award. Five organizations were honored overall, including WGMC. The others were Health First Medical Group, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, Wellstar Cobb Medical Center and Wellstar Kennestone Regional Medical Center.

“What I think separated us for winning this award was, we threw out the data saying, here’s what our goals are, here’s what our expectations are,” Foss said. “And then it got validated by A) the numbers and B) the conversations that were had throughout the organization.”

WGMC COO Bryce Sillyman was also honored as the Sterling Council Rookie Examiner of the Year. He served on a team that was evaluating organizations as part of the award process.

“That was very meaningful because it was selected amongst my peers,” Sillyman said.

While Foss pointed to his staff and their commitment, Sillyman said Foss was being modest and played a large role in why WGMC received the Sterling award, noting leadership and results are what made organizations stand out from others. 

All three recognitions demonstrate growth from the hospital in different areas, especially considering all three honors are unaffiliated and the criteria for judging is different.

Four and a half years ago, when Foss started at WGMC, the hospital had a “C” score in the Leapfrog ratings. The score comes out twice a year and the criteria is constantly being refined.

Leapfrog assigns the letter grade based on 26 measures evaluating the hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from infections, injuries and medical and medication errors, according to WGMC. In Spring 2022, WGMC was still rated a “C,” according to the Leapfrog website.  WGMC is one of 19 hospitals in the state of Georgia with an “A” grade.

Much of the Leapfrog data is from the point in time with WGMC was dealing with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, summer July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

Overall, when you include the clinics, hospice, home health, and the hospital, WGMC has over 1300 employees.

“I can’t say thank you enough to this team and their commitment and their level of commitment to making sure that we’re giving every patient every time giving them the highest level of care,” Foss said.