CUMMING — Two metro Atlanta hospitals announced this week they plan to combine to create one major health care system serving Atlanta and north Georgia.
Northside Hospital, which has a location in Cumming, and Gwinnett Medical Center approved a non-binding letter of intent to begin exclusive discussions for the merger, according to a news release from Northside.
If a final agreement is reached, headquarters would remain anchored in Sandy Springs for Northside and in Lawrenceville for Gwinnett.
The system would also include hospitals in Cumming, Canton and Duluth and additional cancer treatment, imaging and urgent care centers, as well as medical office buildings and other outpatient locations throughout Georgia.
“A Northside Hospital and Gwinnett Medical Center combination is a strong and strategic fit on many levels,” said Northside Hospital CEO Bob Quattrocchi. “We come to the table with very similar organizational cultures and unsurpassed commitments to patient safety and quality care.
“Northside and Gwinnett Medical already are geographic neighbors, and together we will serve one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.”
The Northside-Gwinnett Medical combined system would have nearly 1,400 beds, more than 16,000 employees and about 3,500 physicians on staff.
Currently, the Northside Hospital health care system is an 852-bed, nonprofit health care provider with more than 150 locations throughout Georgia.
Forsyth County’s hospital is one of its three acute care centers in the state, with the others in Atlanta and Cherokee County.
Gwinnett Medical Center sits under parent company Gwinnett Health System, which employs 4,800 associates and has 800 affiliated physicians serving more than 400,000 patients annually.
Gwinnett Medical is also a nonprofit health care network that offers acute care in Lawrenceville and Duluth, among additional facilities.
Quattrocchi and Philip Wolfe, CEO of Gwinnett Medical, said the merger is the best way to prepare for the future needs of patients and their families.
A target of early 2016 has been set as a potential closing date for the deal. Meanwhile, both CEOs said, each organization will conduct due diligence and planning activities.
If a final definitive agreement is reached, the proposed transaction will be submitted to the Georgia Attorney General’s office for review and approval, including at least one public hearing on a date to be determined.
“Our service offerings complement each other,” Wolfe said. “Northside Hospital is a regional and national leader in women’s health and cancer care, while Gwinnett Medical Center is a leader in cardiac care, trauma care and sports medicine.
“Going forward, out strategy will be to leverage our respective strengths in our expanded footprint and provide the total spectrum of health care to patients not only in our market area, but throughout Georgia and the Southeast.”
According to the two leaders, the merger should create “many opportunities for enhanced patient care, additional growth, professional development and fiscal strength.”