Habersham Medical Center (HMC) and Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) have reached a definitive agreement on a five-year plan intended to transform HMC’s campus – ultimately making the hospital part of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) – and lessen the debt burden on Habersham County’s taxpayers.
“Many people in Habersham County have asked for a deal like this for years, and many before us have tried to make it happen,” says Lynn Boggs, HMC’s chief executive officer. “We’re thrilled to deliver this agreement, which can lead to security and stability for this community’s local hospital. We are truly working together for healthier tomorrows.”
The five-year plan calls for NGHS to invest $3 million annually to help HMC fund capital projects to enhance and expand services for the hospital in Demorest. During that five-year period, any dollars HMC generates beyond 20 days of cash-on-hand to support operations would be transferred to a fund. At the end of the agreement term, the Hospital Authority of Habersham County will apply the fund balance to the hospital’s bond debt.
“This is a win-win for the future of our community, and it has taken creative thinking and innovative solutions by all parties involved to create this positive path forward,” says Stacy Hall, chairman of the Habersham County Commission. “This puts power back in the hands of the people of Habersham County. By utilizing HMC’s services, they will make both the hospital and county financially stronger.”
During the five-year agreement, HMC leadership and staff will continue to operate the hospital under direction from the Hospital Authority of Habersham County. Emergency and inpatient physicians who provide care at NGMC hospitals will also continue to extend their coverage to HMC, as they have since July 1. At the end of the agreement term, NGHS will have the option to acquire HMC – which is the intended outcome.
“We have a vision for the future of health care in Habersham County, which in turn impacts how care is delivered across our entire region,” says Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS. “This plan will lead to updated facilities, improved services, advanced technology and better coordination for patients – closer to home.”
The plan will officially begin in late November, following a community forum for the public to learn more about the agreement and have the opportunity to ask questions. The forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, November 18, in HMC’s West-Wing Classroom.
ABOUT HABERSHAM MEDICAL CENTER
HMC, a 53-licensed-bed acute care hospital, serves approximately 80,000 residents in Habersham and adjoining counties. HMC operates Habersham Home, an 84-licensed-bed skilled nursing facility, and HCMC Home Care, the service area’s sole agency for hospital-based home health providers.
ABOUT NORTHEAST GEORGIA HEALTH SYSTEM
Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 1 million people across the region through four hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has campuses in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega – with a total of more than 700 beds and more than 1,100 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. Learn more at www.nghs.com.