Two major hospital and health care systems in Forsyth County and metro Atlanta announced Thursday they have reached an agreement on combining their operations.
Northside Hospital and Gwinnett Health System, the parent company of Gwinnett Medical Center, have submitted their proposed merger agreement to the State of Georgia Office of the Attorney General for review and approval, said Katherine Watson, a spokeswoman for Northside.
“Depending on the review process, the five-hospital Northside-Gwinnett Health combined system could be operational in early 2018,” she said.
The two previously announced they had signed a letter of intent to begin discussions for the merger, and Watson said both systems “have taken the necessary time to conduct this process carefully and deliberately. The primary due diligence and planning process has concluded, and the systems are moving forward with the proposed merger.”
Anchored by Northside Hospital in Sandy Springs and Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, the new health system will also merge its hospitals in Cumming, Canton and Duluth and cancer treatment, imaging, urgent care and outpatient centers throughout the state.
The Northside Hospital health care system currently has 926 beds and operates as a non-profit health care provider with more than 150 locations across Georgia, including hospitals in Atlanta, Cherokee County and Cumming. It has more than 2,500 physicians and 15,000 employees who serve 2.5 million patient visits a year.
Gwinnett Health System owns Gwinnett Medical Center and Sequent Health Physician Partners and employs about 5,500 associates and more than 900 physicians who serve more than 600,000 patients annually at hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth.
Together, Watson said, the Northside-Gwinnett combined system will have 1,479 beds, nearly 21,000 employees and 3,500 physicians and staff.
The merger is being done with the aim to combine both system’s strengths, according to information on the new system’s website.
“Northside Hospital is a leader in cancer care, women’s health and specialized surgical care, while Gwinnett Health System has strengths in cardiovascular care, sports medicine and post-acute care,” the website says.
Also according to the website, the merger includes job security in that all employees of both systems will “continue their employment after the merger … Over time, the new system, with its expected growth and expansion, should create additional job opportunities. In past years, as Northside has joined with other health care providers, strong system growth has been one of the results.”