West Georgia Health announced it has signed a formal letter of intent to join with WellStar Health System.
The healthcare industry is going through a period of substantial transition. With ever-changing government regulations and reimbursements, health systems are looking for new efficiencies that will allow for improved access to healthcare, lower cost and higher quality. By joining withWellStar Health System, West Georgia Health, Troup County and the surrounding community will benefit from WellStar’s care models, population health initiatives and advanced care.
“We were looking for a strong partner, but we were also looking for a good fit – the right fit,” said Jerry Fulks, president and CEO of West Georgia Health. “WellStar is that fit. They’ve amassed the size and financial muscle you need to succeed in today’s healthcare world, and they’ve done that while keeping a sharp focus on patient care and employee satisfaction – and the relationship between those two. Culturally, I believe this is a very good marriage.”
“As not-for-profits, WellStar and West Georgia Health have similar missions and commitments to our communities,” said Reynold Jennings, CEO of WellStar Health System. “WellStar was formed 20 years ago when five hospitals came together to create a new health system. By bringing West Georgia Health into the regional system, we are continuing our commitment to deliver world-class healthcare to the communities we serve. Through an in-depth review, we have been very impressed with the level of care that is delivered by the entire West Georgia Health team.”
This announcement follows more than a year of work by the Strategic Planning Committee, which was appointed by the LaGrange-Troup County Hospital Authority. As part of that process, the committee worked with JP Morgan, a leading financial advisor to the healthcare sector, to solicit partnership proposals from a number of larger healthcare systems in Georgia and beyond.
WellStar operates five community hospitals serving Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Paulding counties. WellStar Medical Group, an entity within WellStar, consists of more than 800 physicians and advanced practitioners across more than 160 office locations. With nearly 14,000 team members, it also operates a 180-bed nursing home, 16 imaging centers, eight urgent care centers, two health parks, a pediatric center and two hospice facilities. In addition, WellStar operates one of the busiest emergency departments in the state.
Fulks and Jennings said they expected to complete the remaining due diligence and negotiations within the next three to six months.