NGMC Gainesville First in State to Earn Elite Robotic & Hernia Surgery Accreditation

Published: Friday, March 6, 2020

Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville made history yesterday as it became the first hospital in Georgia to receive accreditation as a Center of Excellence in both Robotic Surgery and Hernia Surgery. Surgical Review Corporation (SRC), an internationally recognized patient safety organization, recognized NGMC for its dedication to delivering safe, effective and evidence-based patient care through its independent, external process of evaluation.

“Our physicians and staff at Northeast Georgia Medical Center have always placed patient safety at the forefront,” says Carol Burrell, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System. “Earning this accreditation for both robotic and hernia surgery reiterates our commitment to consistently deliver the safest, highest-quality surgical care to our patients.”

Healthcare organizations and surgeons seeking accreditation by SRC undergo a rigorous site inspection and self-assessment. This process includes physicians, nurses and administrators who are actively involved in the accredited program. The inspection is consultative and educational, presenting best practices to help an organization or surgeon improve its care and services.

Additionally, SRC recognized eight NGMC physicians as Surgeons of Excellence in Robotic Surgery:

  • Fernando Aycinena, MD, Longstreet Clinic
  • Geary D. Bush, MD, Longstreet Clinic
  • Chad M. Copper, MD, Longstreet Clinic
  • Ronald C. Lewis, MD, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Surgical Associates
  • Daniel A. Mullis, MD, Longstreet Clinic
  • Alex C. Nguyen, MD, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Surgical Associates
  • Robert L. Richard, MD, Longstreet Clinic
  • Keshma Saujani, MD, Longstreet Clinic

Of these, five surgeons also earned distinction as Surgeons of Excellence in Hernia Surgery: Drs. Bush, Copper, Lewis, Mullis and Nguyen.

The foundation for the Center of Excellence designations was laid by Drs. Lewis and Copper, who participate in the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative (AHSQC), an elite nationwide group of surgeons sharing a unique commitment to improve the quality of care for patients who undergo hernia surgery. Drs. Lewis and Copper track surgical cases and share best practices, decision support, care pathways and ongoing performance feedback with other AHSQC participants and partners.

“I think so many people in our community, including some physicians, don’t truly understand the amazing level of robotic surgery expertise we have at Northeast Georgia Medical Center,” said Dr. Lewis. “Surgeons from across the nation have flown to Gainesville to train on robotic techniques, and they come here because of the knowledge and experience we have.”

“The collaboration of all team members has been remarkable, and so is the impact we’re having on people’s lives,” adds Dr. Copper. “It’s all about giving each patient an individualized approach to their health problems and getting them back to regular life as quickly as possible – with less pain, smaller scars and a fast recovery.”

To learn more about robotic surgery at NGMC, visit For information about the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative, visit

For more information about SRC and the accreditation process, visit