The Habersham County Hospital Authority has signed a non-binding letter of intent (“LOI”) for exclusive discussions with Northeast Georgia Health System (“NGHS”) regarding an affiliation between Habersham Medical Center (“HMC”) in Demorest, Georgia, and NGHS. As part of the LOI, HMC and NGHS will jointly pursue opportunities for greater collaboration, embarking upon due diligence with the goal of completing an affiliation so they can join together to best meet the healthcare needs of the community and region.
HMC, one of only six hospitals in the state to join the Georgia Hospital Association’s 2017 Circle of Excellence, will join NGHS during its period of rapid growth. NGHS is a market leader in the 19 county region it serves in northeast Georgia. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC), an affiliate of NGHS, is a recognized center of excellence in cardiovascular care, having been named Georgia’s number one heart hospital 12 years in a row. NGMC was also named Georgia’s number one hospital for overall care for CareChex for the past three years (2014 – 2016).
In the spring of 2016, the Habersham County Hospital Authority commissioned a national search for a potential partner to assist HMC in meeting its long-term strategic objectives.
“We are pleased that a review of strategic options for our community hospital and its affiliation opportunities has led us to these exclusive negotiations with our longtime regional partner, Northeast Georgia Health System,” said Kim Crawford, chairman of the Habersham County Hospital Authority. “This partnership not only brings together two health systems focused on serving their communities, but we believe that it also will enhance HMC’s mission of providing healthcare services to the citizens of Habersham County and other surrounding communities.”
“We have had ongoing discussions with the Habersham County Hospital Authority and Habersham County Commission for the past several years about the strategic direction and future of Habersham Medical Center, and we are very pleased that those discussions have ultimately concluded with this letter of intent,” said Carol Burrell, President and CEO of NGHS. “HMC is a natural strategic fit with NGHS due to our contiguous service region and the many clinical partnerships already in existence. We are excited about what the future holds as we work together even more seamlessly for the benefit of our shared patients.”
“The Commission is very pleased with this outcome,” said Victor Anderson, Chair of the Habersham County Commission. “We are confident that this step will be good for the residents of Habersham County and their desire to maintain a strong local hospital in our community.”
HMC and NGHS will continue exclusive discussions with the intent to execute a definitive agreement for NGHS to acquire HMC. Any resulting transaction would need to meet certain regulatory requirements and approvals before the transaction could be completed. Officials say they expect that this entire process could take up to 12 months.