Cover Story: Atlanta’s Top Health Care Options
Exploring the City’s Hospitals and Medical Centers
By Laura Raines
The Bobbie Bailey Women’s and Surgery Center at DeKalb Medical.
No one likes to think of getting sick or having an accident, but whenthose things happen, Atlanta’s got you covered. The metro area’s health care options are among the best in the world, featuring nationally renowned trauma, maternity and pediatric care programs, among other top-notch offerings. Here are 10 of the city’s premier hospitals and health care systems, where you’ll experience expertly trained staff, compassionate care and the latest in medical technology and research.
Atlanta Medical Center
Formerly Georgia Baptist Medical Center, this Level I trauma center is located in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, and has a second campus serving Atlanta’s south side. Delivering care since 1901, it has earned a gold seal of approval from the Joint Commission for its advanced stroke care. The main hospital houses a state-of-the-art birthing center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit.
- Specialties: Trauma, stroke care and women’s services.
- Did You Know? Atlanta Medical Center’s weight-loss program has been named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. And its South Campus was awarded Primary Stroke Center status in 2013.
- For More Information:www.atlantamedcenter.com.
Atlanta VA Medical Center
The Atlanta VA Medical Center serves more than 130,000 veterans living in northeast Georgia, providing primary care and many specialty services at its main Decatur campus and 12 community-based clinics. It was one of the first medical centers in the country to launch the PACT (Patient-Aligned Care Team) model for primary care, which pairs each patient with a core team of providers to provide continuity, collaboration and greater patient satisfaction.
- Specialty: Comprehensive, high-quality care for veterans.
- Did You Know? A teaching hospital, the Atlanta VA Medical Center maintains affiliation agreements with Emory University and Morehouse College, whose doctors practice and conduct extensive research on site.
- For More Information: www.atlanta.va.gov.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Making kids “all better” is the aim of this nonprofit organization serving more than half a million patients annually at its Egleston, Scottish Rite and Hughes Spalding hospitals and 20 additional neighborhood locations. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) has been ranked one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report since 2004, according to the hospital’s website. The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center treats more than 350 new patients a year. Child-life specialists and music therapists help take the “ouch” out of clinical procedures by engaging young patients in play and creativity.
- Specialties: Cancer, emergency services, orthopedics, neonatal care and heart surgery.
- Did You Know? CHOA’s heart and orthopedic programs have been ranked among the top five in the country by Parents magazine.
- For More Information: www.choa.org.
Founded in 1961, DeKalb Medical is a not-for-profit health system with 628 beds spread across three hospitals in Decatur and Lithonia. The system boasts more than 800 doctors skilled in 55 medical specialties. Its long-term acute-care facility holds the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval for the treatment of acquired brain injury, wound and respiratory failure services.
- Specialties: Cancer, cardiology, orthopedic and women’s services.
- Did You Know? DeKalb Medical’s Heart and Vascular Institute has saved more than 1,000 hearts since it began offering angioplasty and stenting services in May of 2011.
- For More Information: www.dekalbmedical. org.
The largest health care system in Georgia and a premier research and teaching institution, Emory Healthcare cares for the sickest patients from all over the world. Its network of hospitals, clinics and local practices has garnered multiple accreditations and honors. The Emory University Hospital was named best hospital in metro Atlanta and Georgia in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013-14 Best Hospitals guide. Emory Healthcare has received national recognition for care in psychiatry, ophthalmology, neurology/neurosurgery, cancer care and cardiology. The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute-designated center.
- Specialties: Cancer, cardiology, psychiatry, ophthalmology and more.
- Did You Know? Saint Joseph’s Hospital, the newest addition to the Emory Healthcare network, is Atlanta’s oldest hospital, founded in 1880 by the Sisters of Mercy.
- For More Information: www.emoryhealthcare.org.
Grady Health System
A part of the downtown Atlanta landscape since 1892, Grady Memorial Hospital is named for Henry W. Grady, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, who wanted better health care for the city’s poor. Comprising the 953-bed hospital and seven neighborhood health centers, Grady Health System is one of the largest safety-net health systems in the U.S. Grady is best known for its nationally acclaimed emergency services. Grady’s Level I trauma center is staffed 24/7 by doctors from Emory University and Morehouse College.
- Specialties: Emergency services, burns, stroke, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
- Did You Know? Grady’s emergency department is the regional coordinating hospital for all natural and man-made disasters. When bad things happen, its command center goes into action.
- For More Information: www.gradyhealth.org
Gwinnett Medical Center
Serving a fast-growing, diverse population, the 553-bed Gwinnett Medical Center is a nonprofit network of acute-care hospitals and facilities, serving more than 40,000 patients annually. Gwinnett Medical is also a leader in single-incision laparoscopic surgery and sports medicine.
- Specialties: Cardiovascular, orthopedic, neuroscience, maternity and emergency services.
- Did You Know? Gwinnett Medical Center has been listed among America’s 100 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades in 2012.
- For More Information: www.gwinnettmedicalcenter.org.
Many women know Northside Hospital for its maternity services. But this three-hospital system (with locations in Atlanta, Canton and Cumming) provides a full range of services, including imaging, cardiology, sleep disorders, spinal care and emergency services. The Atlanta location has consistently been voted the city’s Most Preferred Hospital for All Health Care Needs in the National Research Corporation’s annual Healthcare Market Guide since 1997. Northside also boasts one of the best survival rates in the nation for bone marrow transplants.
- Specialties: Cancer, cardiology, maternity and more.
- Did You Know? Northside delivers more babies than any other community hospital in the country; it delivered 18,114 in 2012 alone.
- For More Information: www.northside.com.
Piedmont has grown from a 10-bed sanatorium in 1905 to a five-hospital system, including the flagship Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Buckhead, which was named the top acute-care community hospital in metro Atlanta in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals list for 2011-2012. Piedmont Healthcare provides a broad range of free wellness and counseling programs to anyone who is affected by cancer. The Piedmont Heart Institute is a Level I cardiovascular center.
- Specialties: Cancer, cardiology, diabetes, nephrology, neurology and more.
- Did You Know? The Piedmont Transplant Institute has performed more than 3,000 heart, liver, pancreas and kidney transplants.
- For More Information: www.piedmont.org.
Wellstar Health System
From its flagship Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, the WellStar Health System has grown to serve nearly 1.4 million residents with five hospitals in Austell, Douglasville, Marietta, and Dallas, Ga., in addition to seven urgent-care clinics, seven imaging centers, two hospices and a multi-practice “health park.”
- Specialties: Community health, cardiology, oncology, maternity, hospice care and more.
- Did You Know? In 2012, WellStar partnered with Piedmont Healthcare to launch the Georgia Health Collaborative, dedicated to developing innovations to improve health care services.
- For More Information: www.wellstar.org.
More Metro Atlanta Options
Cartersville Medical Center
This 112-bed hospital 40 miles north of Atlanta provides medical, surgical, pediatric, emergency, outpatient and other services for residents of Cartersville and Bartow County. www.cartersvillemedical.com
North Fulton Hospital
This 202-bed facility in Roswell serves North Fulton and surrounding areas and is known for its cancer, orthopedics and women’s health services. Part of the Tenet network, North Fulton is also a Level II trauma center. www.nfultonhospital.com
Northeast Georgia Medical Center
Part of the Northeast Georgia Health System, this Gainesville hospital is the only one in the state to be named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades for 2013. www.nghs.com
Recognized as one of the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, Atlanta’s Shepherd Center is a private nonprofit hospital specializing in the treatment of spinal cord and brain injuries. www.shepherd.org