Georgia hospital to cease inpatient services as Piedmont expands

A lease plan submitted for regulatory approval calls for North Georgia Medical Center in Ellijay to no longer offer inpatient services and for the facility's emergency room and medical offices to be leased to Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare, according to a Georgia Health News report.

Under the lease agreement submitted to state regulators by NGMC's owner, Atlanta-based SunLink Health Systems, Piedmont's hospital in Jasper, Ga., would take over operation of NGMC's ER, physicians' offices and imaging and outpatient surgery centers.

SunLink CEO Robert Thornton told Georgia Health News that NGMC has been losing money, as the hospital averaged about six inpatients for the past year. He said the hospital will not immediately end inpatient services, and the transition would take several months to complete.

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