Habersham Medical Center & Northeast Georgia Health System Evaluating Five-Year Agreement and Purchase

DEMOREST, Ga. (PRESS RELEASE)  – The Hospital Authority of Habersham County and the Habersham County Commission voted Monday night to approve a letter of intent (LOI) between Habersham
Medical Center (HMC), Habersham County and Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS).

Under the LOI, both HMC and NGHS will evaluate and finalize a proposed five-year agreement designed to invest a total of $15 million in HMC’s capital assets to enhance healthcare services. The intent is for NGHS to acquire HMC at the end of the five -year period, assuming specific terms of the agreement are met. The agreement would complement a plan already announced for Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) to begin supporting emergency department and inpatient services at HMC starting July 1, 2019.

“This would be a win-win for the future of our community,” says Stacy Hall, chairman of the Habersham County Commission. “Leaders at HMC and NGHS have a vision for how to continue improving health care for patients in Habersham County while also positively impacting the financial health of our local economy, and both of those moves better the lives of the people we all serve.”

The proposed agreement outlines a five-year plan for NGHS to invest $3 million dollars 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-onhand to support operations would be transferred to a fund. At the end of the agreement term, the fund balance would be used at the discretion of HMC and the Hospital Authority – with the intent to apply the funds to Habersham County’s debt.

“This is a great example of dedicated leaders finding a creative solution to complex financial problems facing rural healthcare in communities across the nation,” says Jim Carboy, chair of the Hospital Authority of Habersham County. “It’s vital that the community support its hometown hospital by utilizing the services at HMC and helping make the agreement successful.”

During the five-year agreement, HMC leadership and staff would continue to operate the hospital under direction from the Hospital Authority of Habersham County. At the end of the definitive agreement term, NGHS would have the option to acquire HMC. “The success of this partnership is critically important to the success of Habersham Medical Center and the communities we serve,” says Lynn Boggs, CEO of HMC. “We are excited about the potential of this innovative, collaborative agreement – which is the next step in HMC and NGHS working together for a healthier tomorrow.”

“We value our longstanding relationship with HMC, and our goal is to strengthen that connection in ways that support the entire community and region,” says Carol Burrell, president
and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System – which includes NGMC. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate and care for our mutual patients.”