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Piedmont to invest $250M in Columbus Regional as part of proposed partnership

As part of its proposed partnership agreement with Columbus (Ga.) Regional Health, Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare will commit more than $250 million to the Columbus community, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Here are five things to know about the proposed merger.

1. Under the partnership, which is legally identified as a "membership substitution," Columbus Regional will be rebranded Piedmont Columbus Regional. Piedmont Healthcare will assume Columbus Regional's roughly $280 million of debt, according to the institutions' proposal submitted to the state attorney general's office. The eight-hospital system Piedmont Healthcare will also invest $250 million in capital expenditures at Columbus Regional, as well as an additional $30 million to $50 million for the installation of a new EMR, the Ledger-Enquirer reports.

"[The $250 million] is a significant amount of money. It is more than we have been able to generate in the past on our own," said Columbus Regional President and CEO Scott Hill, according to the Ledger-Enquirer. "We're excited about this investment [Piedmont Healthcare] will be making into our organization, our employees, our physicians and into the services we provide in Columbus."

2. Three representatives from Piedmont Healthcare will be added to Columbus Regional's 10-member board of directors as part of the agreement. One Columbus Regional board member will also be appointed to Piedmont Healthcare's board.

3. Officials expect to finalize the affiliation March 1, pending approval by the state attorney general's office. The institutions submitted their proposal to the AG's office in late October. The AG's office has 120 days to review and issue a ruling. Mr. Hill said last week leadership from both organizations have met with the AG's office to discuss the proposal, according to the report.

4. The Georgia attorney general's office scheduled a hearing on the proposed deal last week, but rescheduled the meeting for Jan. 25 due to weather concerns.

5. The organizations signed a letter of intent last May to partner.

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