Georgia health system was blindsided by 12-cardiologist exodus

A new report from The Gainesville Times reveals Gainesville-based Northeast Georgia Health System is still not sure what caused the sudden departure of 12 cardiologists earlier this month.

The cardiologists, previously employed by the Heart Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, moved to the neighboring Northside Hospital, based in Atlanta. The departing cardiologists included the chairman of the heart hospital, Jeff Marshall, MD.

NGMC Gainesville President Louis Smith told The Gainesville Times that the cardiologists and health system were in the process of renewing contracts. Physician leadership had approved the contracts, and the health system expected them to be signed. However, some of the cardiologists had not returned the paperwork as of May 31, when their contracts were set to expire. Even then, Mr. Smith thought they would sign and return the contracts by the following week, according to the report. 

Mr. Smith first realized something was off when several physicians called in to say they would not be reporting for their shifts. An attorney sent the health system a letter on June 1 announcing the departure on behalf of the cardiologists, according to the report. The health system is still working to understand what caused the departure.

NGMC is currently hiring to fill the positions. It still has 26 physicians and 42 advanced practice providers on staff, so patient care will largely go uninterrupted, according to the report.

Read the full story here.


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