DCH and the Georgia Army National Guard Honored with a 2020 Army Community Partnership Award

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) announced that its Healthcare Facility Regulation Division (HFRD), in partnership with the Georgia Army National Guard, received a prestigious 2020 Army Community Partnership Award. The award, presented by The Department of the Army, recognizes exceptional partnerships that encourage continued collaboration to improve readiness, drive modernization and enhance quality of life initiatives throughout the Army.

"Now more than ever, both public and private partnerships enhance our ability to [solve problems], as we look toward the future," said Alex A. Beehler, the assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment.

In early April 2020, DCH and the Georgia Army National Guard collaborated to develop a data-mining tool that identified long-term care facilities in need of immediate help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once finalized, the tool accumulated data that included COVID-19 cases in licensed nursing homes, assisted living communities and personal care homes of 25 beds or more. This information was self-reported by the facilities, allowing the state to make informed decisions towards protecting some of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens.

“We realized very early on during the global pandemic that transparency would be key in our efforts to help mitigate the spread of the virus in long-term care facilities, particularly nursing homes, across the state,” said Melanie Simon, executive director of the HFRD. “We would like to extend our gratitude to the Georgia Army National Guard for its assistance in creating an informative database for concerned staff, residents and their loved ones in these facilities.”

DCH has posted the long-term care facility reports to its website each Monday-Friday as a public service to Georgia citizens since April 2020.

“This award is a true testament to the power of collaboration,” said DCH Commissioner Frank Berry. “We are deeply honored to have worked with the Georgia Army National Guard, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the rest of our state partners during these challenging times. These partnerships have elevated our efforts in better serving our communities throughout the state of Georgia, and DCH will continue to do our part in helping Georgians fight this terrible virus.”