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University Hospital enters $1B partnership with Piedmont Healthcare

University Hospital
University Hospital(University Health Care System)
Published: May. 12, 2021 at 10:19 AM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 11:08 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Piedmont Healthcare is announcing a $1 billion partnership with University Hospital.

The deal with Piedmont — which has a dozen hospitals from Atlanta to Athens, Columbus and Macon — also includes a $20 million investment in community health benefits over 10 years.

The University Health Care System board unanimously approved a non-binding letter of intent for the local hospital system to join Piedmont.

Piedmont has a dozen hospitals from Atlanta to Athens, Columbus and Macon.

University Hospital has 4,138 employees systemwide working at three hospitals along with primary-care and prompt-care facilities from Aiken to Grovetown. The University Healthcare System employs 150 doctors and more than 650 medical staffers.

As for the partnership, it’s this is just the beginning of a transition that will take many months and careful oversight and review.

Sources at University Hospital say no employees will lose their job because of the new partnership with Piedmont Healthcare and patients will continue seeing their favorite doctors.

The non-binding letter is the first step toward a partnership, as it allows for a period of due diligence for the two organizations to spend time learning more about each other and to determine specific terms of a partnership before final decisions are made.

“The University Board has been exploring several options, including how a partnership with a like-minded organization could ensure the long-term sustainability of our health system,” said Hugh Hamilton, chairman of University’s Board of Directors and the Richmond County Hospital Authority. “In conversations with Piedmont, it is evident that our organizations share similar values and commitment to quality, safety and service to the patients and communities we serve. This is a natural next step for both health systems in our efforts to improve health for the people of the Augusta region and across the state of Georgia.”

While the exact terms of a potential partnership have yet to be finalized, key details of the letter include commitments to:

  • Establish University as the Piedmont Healthcare Augusta hub for clinical services.
  • Leverage the expertise of Piedmont Healthcare to enhance high-quality care as well as improve operational expertise.
  • Invest more than $1 billion over 10 years to enhance and expand University facilities, information technology, clinical infrastructure and operational capabilities to better serve the diverse healthcare needs of the region.
  • Keep local representation on the board of directors in place to ensure the community’s voice is heard as part of decision-making regarding the Augusta clinical hub.
  • Maintain current staff.
  • Maintain current medical staff membership and privileges. Piedmont will also leverage its resources to recruit additional highly qualified providers to Augusta.
  • Invest at least $2 million a year to support community benefit programs and other initiatives to address health disparities and inequities.
  • Ensure that all fundraising dollars and endowments of the University Health Care Foundation remain local.

Nothing changes today for employees, physicians, patients and the community.

The agreement will require regulatory reviews and is expected to be finalized later this year.

“Our future is exciting, and our work to secure it is ongoing,” Hamilton said. “We now have the opportunity to take our future into our own hands and create something really special for the Augusta region, and we look forward to sharing more good news as we progress.”

For more information about the process, visit UniversityHealthFuture.org.

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