It’s official: NGHS will build hospital in Lumpkin Co.

Business, News

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) announced plans to offer hospital services at the former home of Chestatee Regional Hospital later this year and begin developing a new replacement hospital along Georgia 400 in Lumpkin County.

“We’re thrilled to share this exciting news, which ensures people in and around Lumpkin County will have local access to the high-quality health care they need for generations to come,” says Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS.  “We appreciate the patience of the community as we’ve worked to create solutions that are high-quality, sustainable, and deliver on our mission to improve the health of the community in all we do.”

“This is an answered prayer for those of us who have lived and worked in Lumpkin County for decades,” says Donna Whitfield, MD, a fifth-generation Dahlonega native and internal medicine physician with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group who has practiced in Lumpkin County for 18 years.  “The roots of NGHS run deep in this area, which it’s helped care for since Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville opened in 1951, and we know there’s no other organization better suited to start a new era of healthcare in this community.”

The NGHS team has already started working to open an emergency department – along with some inpatient beds, imaging equipment and other services – in July 2019 at the existing building that was once home to Chestatee Regional Hospital.  The new hospital facility will be called Northeast Georgia Medical Center Lumpkin, or NGMC Lumpkin for short.  Complete emergency services will be provided 24/7/365 by the same group of physicians that care for emergency patients at all Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) hospitals.

“Our physicians and Lumpkin County EMS already work very closely together, as the majority of emergency trauma, cardiac and stroke patients from the area have been transported to NGMC Gainesville for years,” says Mohak Davé, MD, chief of Emergency Medicine for NGMC.  “Now, we look forward to providing excellent emergency care for people in Lumpkin County and surrounding communities – closer to their homes.”

While offering services at the existing hospital site will preserve the Certificate of Need authority to operate a hospital in Lumpkin County and meet the short-term needs of the community, planning has also begun for a new replacement hospital facility to sit on 57 acres NGHS already owns along Georgia 400, near the intersection with Highway 60.  The new facility is tentatively scheduled to open in 2022 and expected to provide emergency services, inpatient medical/surgical care, imaging services and a focus on outpatient surgery.

“When we recently interviewed and surveyed people in the Lumpkin County area, the overwhelming majority told us three things – they need an emergency room, they want a new hospital that meets the needs of the community, and they trust and prefer Northeast Georgia Health System to care for them,” says Louis Smith, president of Acute and Post-Acute Operations for NGHS.  “We heard them, and we intend to deliver on all three counts.”

The number of beds and operating rooms at the new replacement hospital facility will be determined during the planning process, which will also explore innovative ways to deliver care.

“As the population and needs of this area grow, creating a new healthcare destination presents an opportunity to explore new ideas and expand the way people think about hospitals,” says Dr. Whitfield.  “I’m extremely interested in understanding how we can use digital technology, for things like virtual visits, and involve aspects of integrative medicine which include holistic care for the mind and spirit – not just the body.”

As the transition from the existing hospital facility to the new hospital facility is on the horizon, planning for how the existing facility will be used long-term is also in the works. NGHS currently leases the former Chestatee Regional Hospital property from The University System of Georgia Board of Regents. At some point in the future, the University of North Georgia will likely relocate some of its health sciences programs and services to the property.

“These positive changes in our local healthcare landscape create exciting opportunities to enhance the way we teach and prepare our students,” says Dr. Bonita Jacobs, president of the University of North Georgia (UNG).  “We look forward to the potential to collaborate with NGHS and other local providers.”

Other local leaders are optimistic about other ways a new hospital could impact the community.

“I’ve driven and supported efforts to establish a new hospital in Lumpkin County and expand UNG’s healthcare programs on the Dahlonega campus, in large part because of the role healthcare plays in today’s economics,” says Senator Steve Gooch, a Dahlonega resident and former executive director of Lumpkin County’s Development Authority.  “We’ve all seen the growth and prosperity a new hospital and associated development can bring, and we look forward to working alongside NGHS to build a better future for our community.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Thursday summit the UNG convocation center could open door to the healthcare industry for students

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Prospective and current college students whose goal it to enter the healthcare industry can benefit from the Regional Education and Economic Development (REED) Summit being held at the University of North Georgia’s Convocation Center Thursday from 8 a.m.

Registration is $10 for students and $25 for community members. For more details and to register, visit the REED Summit website, ung.edu/reed/reed-summit-2018.

Frank Berry, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health, will deliver the keynote speech about the career opportunities that exist in the health care field in Georgia.

UNG is hosting the summit with support from Northeast Georgia Health System as presenting sponsor

Kay Keller, director of economic development and community engagement at UNG  said, “We hope to expose students to the many occupations in health care beyond well-known clinical careers, including health information technology, data analytics, the patient experience, and human resources,”. “The event will also feature industry leaders who will talk about the educational requirements and experience that future health care professionals will need.”

UNG is hosting the summit with support from Northeast Georgia Health System as presenting sponsor.

The event will also feature panels with industry and education leaders, a resource fair, and breakout sessions focused on rural health care, patient experience, business and administration, serving an aging population, information technology, and community health and wellness.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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NGHS reaches agreement to sell Chestatee Regional to University of North Georgia

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. — The Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) purchase of Chestatee Regional Hospital (CRH) has opened up an opportunity for the University of North Georgia (UNG) to meet the school’s growing educational needs.

NGHS officials announced Friday an agreement to sell the facility to UNG. While the school will not be able to occupy the building for a couple of years, it plans to house nursing, physical therapy, and counseling education programs, as well as two existing, outreach clinics from the counseling and physical therapy departments designed to serve specialized health needs of the community.

UNG President Bonita Jacobs said, “UNG has been exploring opportunities to add academic space for the Dahlonega Campus, and this acquisition will have a transformative impact across multiple academic programs. The healthcare sector is a broad-reaching, high-demand career area, and the facility could serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary opportunities and collaborations to support workforce development needs, such as advanced technologies, informatics, and analytics.”

Jacobs thanked Gov. Nathan Deal and State Sen. Steve Gooch and the Board of Regents for their leadership in facilitating the purchase that will ensure healthcare for this rural community long-term, while also improving healthcare education opportunities.

State legislators have earmarked dollars in the state’s 2019 fiscal year budget for the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to purchase the property. Acquisition will require final approval by the Board of Regents later this year. If approved, the Board of Regents initially would lease the property to NGHS.

Meanwhile, NGHS officials will conduct an assessment of the community’s healthcare needs, including evaluating the possibility of a new facility in Lumpkin County, just south of the intersection of Georgia Highways 400 and 60.

“Chestatee Regional Hospital has been a vital resource for Lumpkin County and an integral part of healthcare in the region for more than 40 years,” said Carol Burrell, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of NGHS. “We look forward to working with the community to better understand what care it needs and collaborating to create a plan to meet those needs in the future.”

CRH is required to notify federal regulators of plans to close the hospital later this year, which would help assure existing liabilities are not tied to future owners or operators. A specific date will be set for the hospital closing during a required due diligence period.

“Our immediate goal is to assess what is needed to re-establish high-quality healthcare services in Lumpkin County after the hospital closes,” Louis Smith, president of Acute and Post-Acute Operations for NGHS, said. “Given what information we’ve received about existing resources, we estimate it may take as many as 12 months to complete that assessment.”

Gooch, who also serves as executive director of Lumpkin County’s Development Authority, said the deal would both stabilize the future of healthcare for Northeast Georgia and allow UNG expanded academic space.

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Chestatee Regional Hospital closing this year, agrees to sell property to Northeast Georgia Health Systems

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Northeast Georgia Health Systems (NGHS) has reached a conditional agreement to buy Chestatee Regional Hospital (CRH) property and some equipment, contingent on the results of a due diligence period.

A specific date will be set for the hospital closing during due diligence. Under the terms of the agreement, CRH owner DL Investment Holdings, LLC is required to notify federal regulators of plans to close the hospital later this year, which would help assure existing liabilities are not tied to future owners or operators.

“We remain advocates for our patients and staff, and vow to provide the highest standard of care through this transition,” said Cathy Sanford, chief operating officer for CRH. “We’re pleased this agreement provides the community and NGHS a fresh start to address the challenges facing small, rural hospitals.”

NGHS already provides other healthcare services in the area, including an Urgent Care on Longbranch Road, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, including an OB/GYN practice, a heart center and a rehabilitation institute, providing outpatient physical rehab services. Some NGHS physicians also practice in Dahlonega and serve or have served on CRH’s medical staff. Lastly, a 57-acre property near Georgia 400 and Highway 60 was purchased in 2015 by the hospital system as a “forward-thinking effort.”

“Our immediate goal is to assess what is needed to re-establish high-quality healthcare services in Lumpkin County after the hospital closes,” said Louis Smith, president of Acute and Post-Acute Operations for NGHS. “Given what information we’ve received about existing resources, we estimate it may take as many as 12 months to complete that assessment.”

“Our long-term vision is to develop an innovative strategy to promote health and wellness in the community while elevating the level of care, which will include evaluating the possibility of a newly constructed facility on that property,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, state legislators have earmarked dollars in the state’s 2019 fiscal year budget for the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to eventually purchase the current CRH property from NGHS. The purchase would require a final vote of approval by the Board of Regents later this year. If approved, the Board of Regents would lease the property to NGHS.

At some point in the future, the property would be used to help the Dahlonega Campus of the University of North Georgia (UNG) meet its growing educational needs.

During the interim, Lumpkin County officials will work with NGHS and other area healthcare providers to help ensure residents have access to emergency care. Lumpkin County officials said roughly 37 percent of EMS patients were taken to CRH in 2017; the remainder were transported to other regional hospitals.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Northeast Georgia Health System to Open Dahlonega Urgent Care Center

News

 

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – State Senator Steve Gooch brought welcome news to the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday evening. Northeast Georgia Health System will open an Urgent Care center in Dahlonega early next year.

The facility will be located in the Home Depot Shopping Center on Longbranch Road at the corner of Ga. 400 and U.S. Hwy. 60 and will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week.

Northeast Georgia Health System continues its plan to bring exceptional Urgent Care to Dahlonega. Physicians and advanced practitioners will treat illnesses or injuries that need immediate attention, but are not life-threatening.

Dr. Antonio Rios, MD medical director and chief administrative officer of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group said, “Northeast Georgia Health System has been serving Lumpkin County residents for decades through the Dahlonega offices of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (family medicine, internal medicine and OB/GYN) and The Rehabilitation Institute. We are excited to bring even more services to this area through a new Urgent Care center which offers seven-day- a-week, extended-hours care, giving Dahlonega residents even more convenient access to the state’s most awarded health care.”

No appointment is necessary at NGHS’ Urgent Care centers, and most major insurance plans are accepted. Urgent Care Dahlonega will accept patients 6 months and older and provide access to a referral network of more than 500 physicians if specialty care is needed.

Urgent Care is part of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, an affiliate of Northeast Georgia Health System, with six locations throughout Northeast Georgia. Learn more at ngpg.org.

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