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2017 HomeTown Health Awards

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

UltraGroup is honored to have the opportunity to work with these outstanding leaders of our Georgia client hospitals serving their rural communities. Congratulations to these 2017 Hometown Health Award recipients!

About HomeTown Health

HomeTown Health, LLC, formed in 1997, is an organization of more than 70 rural and small hospitals located throughout the southeast, healthcare providers, and best practice business partners who collectively pursue ways to help its hospitals survive in this environment of tremendous budget cuts from the state and federal level. The mission of HomeTown Health is to ensure that rural healthcare is preserved at the local community level wherever possible and that a continuum of care is available to the rural populations. What began as a handful of community hospitals 13 years ago has now grown into an organization of over 70 hospital members and 60 business partners. UltraGroup is proud to be a “Presidential level” business partner for Hometown Health. For more information, visit

2017 Hospital of the Year Award — Evans Memorial Hospital

Nikki Nesmithl with Jimmy Lewis

Evans Memorial Hospital, located in Claxton, GA, is a 49 licensed bed not-for-profit acute care hospital with a 10-bed Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatric program. The hospital was named one of Georgia’s Top 5 Small Hospitals (less than 100 beds) in 2015 and 2016 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) based on 40 quality indicators. Evans Memorial Hospital was chosen by HomeTown Health for providing exemplary leadership by adopting “Best Practices” for rural hospital improvement, and making a commitment to staff education, advocating to state policymakers while emphasizing technological advances and superior patient care. “The team at Evans Memorial Hospital has done an outstanding job in working for the good of their patients, community and staff. They have launched a successful campaign to engage dollars through the Rural Hospital Tax Credit program to financially support their hospital which has set the tone for what success in that program can and will look like for participating hospitals. Beyond that, they are committed to excellence in every sense of the word throughout the entire scope of their service lines.” says Jimmy Lewis, CEO of HomeTown Health.

2017 Hospital Leader of the Year Award — Mr. Michael Purvis, CEO of Cook Medical Center

Michael Purvis, CEO of Cook Medical Center with Jimmy Lewis

Cook Medical Center is a 60 bed acute care hospital located in Adel, GA. The hospital includes the Sylvia Barr Center, which is a 12-bed Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatric program, as well as a 95-bed skilled nursing facility.

This award is presented by HomeTown Health to individuals who exhibit extraordinary talents and skills in positively influencing the delivery of health care in Georgia.

“For exemplary leadership and a lifetime of dedication to patient care, employee excellence, and efforts leading to the survival of Cook County Medical Center in Adel, Georgia.” stated HomeTown’s CEO, Jimmy Lewis as he announced this coveted award. “Michael has done what some say is impossible. He has gotten a new hospital, supported by his county, in a time when hospitals are more likely to close than renovate. The amount of work, dedication and perseverance that Michael and his team at Cook County put forth towards the establishment of a new facility, their dedication to maintaining appropriate services to their community and their engagement with their citizens and patients is what successful rural healthcare can look like when led by passionate leadership.”

2017 Nurse Executive of the Year Award — Shawn Whittaker, RN, Miller County Hospital

Shawn Whittaker, RN with Jimmy Lewis

Miller County Hospital is a 25 bed critical access not-for-profit hospital located in Colquitt, GA, offering a full range of inpatient and outpatient services to the residents of Colquitt and surrounding areas.

Shawn was selected for providing exceptional leadership by adopting “Best Practices” for rural hospital improvement, for her well-established commitment to staff education and leadership development, and her dedication to superior patient care while emphasizing technological advances at her facility.

"This award is presented each year by HomeTown Health to a Chief Nursing Officer who exhibits extraordinary talents and skills in positively influencing the delivery of rural health care in Georgia. Shawn has given tirelessly to leading her department, being an integral part of her hospital's continued drive to successful provision of care and service lines, has engaged with new staff as services expanded at her facility, and has never lost her dedication to superior patient care experiences. She's a vital piece of the puzzle at Miller County Hospital." said HomeTown's CEO Jimmy Lewis.



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