West Georgia Health-Wellstar Partnership Receives Attorney General Approval

Partnership Expected To Become Official On April 1

LAGRANGE, Ga. (February 23, 2016) – The partnership between West Georgia Health (WGH) and WellStar Health System has received regulatory approval from the Georgia Attorney General. WGH will then officially join WellStar on April 1.

The Attorney General’s report follows a January 20th public hearing at WGH. In preparing for the Attorney General’s review of the proposed partnership, WGH commissioned PYA, a healthcare consulting firm, to conduct a community benefit analysis. Their findings determined that the partnership would benefit WGH’s ability to manage costs through shared resources, physician recruitment, new service development and enhanced clinical services by drawing from WellStar’s expertise in clinical and operational efficiencies.

“West Georgia Health and our 1,800 team members are excited to join with WellStar in its vision of delivering world-class healthcare to our community,” said Jerry Fulks, president & CEO of West Georgia Health. “Troup County and the surrounding West Georgia community will benefit immensely from this partnership. We look forward to tapping into WellStar’s experience and innovative care models to help us achieve even greater success for our patients.”

“As not-for-profits, Well-Star and West Georgia Health have similar missions and commitments to our communities,” said Candice Saunders, president & CEO of WellStar Health System. “On a recent visit to LaGrange, I met with many civic and business leaders. I was encouraged by their support and commitment to ensuring the community continues to be a leader in high-quality healthcare. Working together, our physicians, nurses and team members will be able to improve the health and wellbeing of the LaGrange, Troup County and entire West Georgia Health community.”

More than a year ago, WGH began looking for a partner that would provide both strong financial backing and a similar organizational culture. In November, the Boards of Trustees for WGH and Well-Star each gave final approval for WGH to join WellStar. The unanimous vote followed several months of due diligence. WellStar and WGH leaders are currently working on the details of integration and expect to sign a definitive agreement on March 7 ahead of the official partnership launch on April 1.

About West Georgia Health

Based in LaGrange, Ga., West Georgia Health has provided health care services to residents of west Georgia and east Alabama for more than 78 years. Its mission: to serve the healthcare needs of the people within its region through professional service, compassionate treatment and a safe environment, while collaborating with community leaders to produce better health for its citizens. West Georgia Health is comprised of its flagship, West Georgia Medical Center, two skilled nursing facilities (Florence Hand Home and Twin Fountains Home); Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic; West Georgia Heart Clinic, its Women’s Health Center and West Georgia Hospice which offers both home hospice care and an inpatient hospice facility. In addition, West Georgia Health operates an occupational medicine clinic, outpatient laboratory and rehabilitation services, a wound care clinic and West Georgia Home Care, which serves patients in Harris, Heard, Meriwether and Troup counties. West Georgia Health Physicians, the physician services organization associated with West Georgia Health, currently has 21 primary care and specialty practices located throughout Troup and Meriwether counties. To learn more, visit www.wghealth.org and www.wgphysicians.org.

About WellStar Health System

WellStar Health System is the largest not-for-profit health system in Georgia and serves a population of more than 1.4 million residents in five counties. The vision of WellStar is to deliver world-class healthcare. A national leader in the transformation of healthcare delivery, WellStar launched the Center for Health Transformation and has partnered with the Georgia Tech Research Institute leading to farreaching effects on healthcare both locally and nationally. WellStar is regularly listed as a top employer nationally— most recently on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list. WellStar includes WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital) and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals; Well-Star Medical Group; Urgent Care Centers; Health Parks; Pediatric Center; Health Place; Homecare; Hospice; Atherton Place; Paulding Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; and the WellStar Foundation. For more information, call 770-956STAR or visit wellstar.org.