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Gwinnett Hospital System gets top grade from rating firm

LAWRENCEVILLE - A nonprofit that runs Gwinnett's largest hospital has been honored for overall clinical excellence.

Gwinnett Hospital System received the 2006 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence based on a study by HealthGrades.

Being selected means the nonprofit's hospitals - which include Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville and Joan Glancy Memorial in Duluth - demonstrated clinical quality that puts them in the top 5 percent of all U.S. hospitals.

Only one other Georgia hospital received the award: Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta. HealthGrades is an independent research firm that rates U.S. hospitals.

Among medical professionals, the clinical excellence award is as prestigious as it gets, said David Schmidt, a general surgeon at Gwinnett Medical Center for 16 years.

The award also gives a chance to inspire public confidence in Gwinnett Hospital System and bring more people through its doors.

"It means your clinical work is as good or better than anyone's in the country," Schmidt said.

Attracting more high-income, well-insured patients to both nonprofit hospitals is a priority. It was among the goals a local task force of civic and business leaders discussed during a series of meetings that analyzed challenges facing Gwinnett Hospital System.

Gwinnett Medical Center was also given the 2006 HealthGrades Pulmonary Care Excellence award.