Paul Scheinberg, the chief medical officer at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital, paid a visit to the Western Galilee’s main hospital during a Jewish National Fund medical mission during the winter.

“They were anticipating my visit” at Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Scheinberg said in an interview in his Sandy Springs office after the trip, because of the Sister City agreement between Sandy Springs and the Western Galilee Cluster.

The hospital, the largest in the Galilee and only six miles from Lebanon, had 115,000 emergency room visits and 5,500 births in 2012 under the leadership of a Christian Arab physician, Masad Barhoum. It also has become one of the go-to hospitals for Syrians sneaking into Israel with wounds from their civil war.

“They are taking care of a lot of people at extensive cost,” Scheinberg said. “It was just a very impressive facility.”

The visit to Nahariya was part of trip of about 20 American medical professionals — two nurses and the rest doctors — Scheinberg said. The group included Atlanta nephrologist Sorin Vainer, who was trained in Israel.

Over five days, the mission visited JNF projects in the north and south of Israel with a particular focus on medical technology, which hits home with Scheinberg, who has been visiting Israel every couple of years since 1967 and wants to strengthen the connection between Israeli medicine and technology.

“I was very impressed with the level of medical care” in Israel, he said. “In some ways, it’s more advanced than here because they’re not encumbered by the same regulatory burdens.”

A question to be addressed during the Western Galilee delegation’s visit to Sandy Springs from Sept. 11 to 18, which includes a tour of the Emory St. Joseph’s cancer center and a lunch with administrators from St. Joseph’s, Northside and Children’s Healthcare on Tuesday, Sept. 13, is how the Galilee and Sandy Springs hospitals can work together.

“If there’s any interchangeability, we don’t know yet,” Scheinberg said in the spring.

He explained that the Galilee Medical Center and St. Joseph’s have different strengths and focuses. For example, St. Joseph’s is a leader in robotic cardiac surgery, while the Nahariya hospital doesn’t do cardiac surgery.

“They’re busy and extremely well-trained,” Scheinberg said. “We’re looking for things linking the two communities.”