Northeast Georgia Health Systems announced Wednesday tat the system will begin offering some hospital services at the former Chestatee Regional Hospital as they build a new hospital along Georgia 400.
Northeast Georgia Medical Center Lumpkin, or NGMC Lumpkin, is expected to open in 2022, according to a press release from NGHS Wednesday, but emergency and some other services should begin at the existing Chestatee hospital by the summer.
The new hospital will be built on 57 acres along Georgia 400 near the intersection of Highway 60. NGHS already owns this property.
"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."
The emergency department, as well as some inpatient beds, imaging equipment and other services will open in July at the Chestatee facility. The hospital said complete emergency care services will be provided "24/7/365" and by the same emergency physicians that care for patients at all of the NGMC hospitals.
The new facility will 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."
Smith said the hospital in Lumpkin County should take some pressure off of both the residents there, and the hospital in Gainesville.
"It's really important that we size and offer services to not only meet some access needs of the communities we serve, but but are also sustainable over time because that's what's been missing and has been a real challenge for that area," said Smith. "It's going to be an important part, providing some of that primary access to the emergency and some of the medical-type conditions, such as pneumonia, things of that nature, that keeps people local but allows the Gainesville hospital to really devote it's resources to services that are tertiary in nature, much like open heart surgery, some of the oncology care, that type of thing, so that we can really focus those resources on the services that takes a broader population to support the high quality that we have a reputation for, but assuring that care that can be provided in the direct community is allowed to do so, be accessible, and people can get that care close to home
How many rooms or beds in the new hospital hasn't been determined yet. Smith said while there are some signature elements in their facilities, details of a design haven't been established yet. He estimated there would be an update regarding the design in six to nine months.
As for the former Chestatee building, NGHS leases the property from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. In the future, the University of North Georgia - Dahlonega is expected to relocate some of it's health science programs and services there.