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Henry Medical, Piedmont Health explore partnership

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Henry Medical Center (HMC) has joined forces with Piedmont Healthcare to examine the possibility of working together more closely in the future.

Charles F. Scott, president and chief executive officer of HMC, said in an interview Wednesday that the proposed measure is a "response to the rapidly changing health-care environment at the national, state, and local levels.

"In consideration of the increasing challenges to hospitals associated with these changes, the board and administration of Henry Medical Center have determined that it would be worthwhile to explore the potential benefits to our hospital, and to the patients and community we service, of a partnership with a strong, highly regarded regional health-care system," said Scott.

"To that end, we have signed a confidentiality agreement with Piedmont Healthcare to discuss and explore the possibility of a strategic affiliation between our two organizations."

The exact nature of the partnership, he added, is "yet to be determined." Still, Scott said the concept "does not involve the sale of Henry Medical Center," and favors a "relationship" with Piedmont.

"We would benefit from the considerable resources and expertise available in the Piedmont organization, while retaining local ownership and control," Scott continued.

HMC and Piedmont issued a joint news release Wednesday, about the possible association. In the release, executives from Piedmont Healthcare expressed optimism regarding the possibility of working closely with HMC.

One of those individuals was Piedmont's President and CEO, R. Timothy Stack.

"Piedmont Healthcare has a successful business model that is committed to serving the needs of communities," Stack said. "We welcome the opportunity to share our ideas with the leadership of Henry Medical Center, and learning from them as well."

Gregory A. Hurst, Piedmont's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Piedmont's leadership is "excited about the potential" of developing a relationship with HMC.

"We look forward to exploring this relationship for the benefit of the patients and communities we serve," added Hurst.

HMC and Piedmont did not provide additional details about their possible, cooperative efforts. "At this time, any additional detail regarding the definition of the possible affiliation, would be premature and prohibited by the agreement," the news release stated.

Services at HMC, a 215-bed, not-for-profit, community hospital in Stockbridge, include cardiovascular and critical care, orthopedics, surgery, and women's health programs. More than 400 physicians, and nearly 500 nurses, are employed at the hospital.

Piedmont Healthcare, also a not-for-profit organization, is the parent company of Piedmont Hospital, a 481-bed acute tertiary facility in the north Atlanta community of Buckhead; Piedmont Fayette Hospital, a 143-bed acute-care, community hospital in Fayetteville; Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a 42-bed, community hospital in Jasper; and Piedmont Newnan Hospital, a 143-bed, acute-care, community hospital in Newnan.