Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross

  • Location: Waycross, GA
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: May 2012

About Us

Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross, formerly known as Satilla Regional Medical Center, is a non-profit, mission driven, acute-care community hospital licensed for 231 beds. Our tradition of care began fifty years ago and continues today with more than 1,400 employees, physicians, and volunteers. The hospital serves as a regional referral center for more than 155,000 Southeast Georgians in a 9-county area.

Our Journey

In 2006, Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross embarked on a Journey to Excellence with Studer Group. Our vision, to make our hospital a better place for patients to receive care, physicians to practice, and employees to work, became the driving force behind everything we do. Health system employees round with a purpose, utilize key words at key times, complete over 70% of post visit calls, understand and embrace Patient and Family Centered Care and utilize AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explain, Thank) in our interactions with patients, families, physicians and each other. We have been active participants in the Leadership Development Institute and fully understand the investment it will take to sustain our success. We are committed, dedicated and determined to always keep our patients first and recognize what a challenge it will be to keep our foundation strong.


Recognizing the strong correlation between employee, physician and patient satisfaction, Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross was able to reduce employee turnover as well as the employee vacancy and nursing vacancy rates every year since 2007. We knew that our employees had to connect their actions with the organization’s purpose and we were able to use tools and tactics such as thank you notes, increased rounding and leadership development to achieve this. Based on the reduction in turnover, savings were identified in 2010 equating to $1,056,000. These savings continue to grow.

When an employee sees another employee going above and beyond the call of duty, that employee is encouraged to complete a WOW Card. On this card, the employee can briefly describe the action and then submits it to the Standards Team. Completed WOW Cards are then discussed and employees are rewarded for making a difference. From changing tires to picking up trash, our employees have exemplified exceptional care and compassion… even when they thought no one was watching.


Through improved systems and communication, as well as implementing the nation’s best practices, the health system has improved patient satisfaction scores by 57 percent since July 2008. By identifying areas for improvement and drilling down to determine the most effective means of improvement, patients and their families have begun to notice a change in our delivery of care, and they have spoken. In 2008, average patient satisfaction scores ranked in the 57th percentile. As of March 2012, the average ranking was in the 83rd percentile.
While many staff members contributed to improving our patient satisfaction scores, our nurse managers guided the effort. Each nurse manager assumed ownership of their unit and their patients and ensured that everyone was consistently using tools and techniques that had been proven to increase patient satisfaction. They rounded on the patients in their unit; they rounded on their staff; and they were quick to intervene when necessary. We attempted to make a discharge phone call to EVERY inpatient within 48 hours of discharge. These efforts have led us to achieve our 98th percentile ranking in the nurse communication domain. For 7 of the 7 HCAHPS indicators, we ranked amongst the top ten percent of hospitals.

We used similar tactics in the emergency department and have seen our scores climb from the bottom ten percent to the top ten percent. At the same time, we have seen increased patient volumes, decreased wait times, and fewer patients leaving without completing service.

To drive improvements in our outpatient areas, we formed a team that included members from across the organization that were able to work together to streamline the outpatient process, remove or minimize obstacles, and create a better experience for our patients.

Our ambulatory surgery department is a consistently high performing department. The departmental leadership had to be innovative to come up with ideas to take us to the next level. We began providing each patient a muffin and a drink upon their return to their room following their procedure. Our fasting patients really recognized that we were concerned about them and were trying to meet their every need.

Since 2006, the health system has added over 20 specialists to its team of specialty physicians. Medical services added include: Interventional Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, and Vascular Surgery.

In 2010, Satilla Regional Medical Center provided $11,532,000 in community benefit programs and services to its nine-county service area in Southeast Georgia. Providing this community benefit service represents Satilla
Regional’s ongoing dedication to meet the health care needs of everyone in the region — parents, children, grandparents, the homeless, the helpless and the hopeless. These services are more than just statistics and numbers; they reflect a deep commitment to improve the health of our communities and increase access to healthcare.


Since 2009, Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross has regularly placed on the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) Quality Honor Roll. The hospital is one of fewer than 100 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.

In 2012, the hospital received accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). This accreditation was attained by demonstrating improved quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs. These programs focus on prevention, early diagnosis, pretreatment evaluation, staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, surveillance for recurrent disease, support services, and end-of-life care.


In 2009, the Revenue Management department began an initiative to identify additional net revenue due. This revenue consists of undercharges identified during charge audits, underpayments from insurance companies identified on managed care accounts and process improvement ideas such as improved documentation efforts and charge processes in a number of departments. By 2011, the department had identified over $2.5M.

In 2010, the Human Resources department implemented an online Annual Update for employees. Prior to this, the two-hour update session was held 30 times a year, at which employees received hard copies of materials as well as refreshments. Online Annual Update has resulted in savings of approximately $38,000.00 annually.

In 2011, the Emergency Department implemented a tactic to reduce the number of emergent patients who leave the waiting room without being seen. A cost avoidance of $87,600 was identified.


In February 2010, the hospital announced that heart care in our community had been changed forever due to the new offering of interventional cardiology services. Approval to provide these most needed procedures, such as stent placement and angioplasty, had been sought for over 13 years. In the first two years of providing these services, patient volumes surpassed all expectations, with over 400 interventional procedures performed. In December 2011, Georgia Trend Magazine ranked the hospital in Georgia’s Top Ten for Coronary Interventional Procedures.

In August 2010, ground was broken for a $6.5M expansion project that would add 25,000 square feet to the hospital. The project included three levels; the first-floor surgical area was renovated to accommodate operational space needed with growth of services, staff, and the delivery of exceptional patient care. The second floor of the addition provided a 16-bed Progressive Care Unit to support the growing number of cardiac patients who receive interventional treatment including stents and angioplasty. The third floor was built for future growth and is scheduled for completion at a later date.

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