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University Hospital Approved for Thomson, Ga. May 2, 2012

May 1, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Rebecca Sylvester, 706.828.2394

Georgia Attorney General Approves
a University Hospital in Thomson

THOMSON, Ga. -- The final report from the Georgia Attorney General was released today, concluding that the proposed transfer of McDuffie Regional Medical Center into the University Health Care System met the criteria to ensure the transaction is authorized and the value of the charitable assets will be safeguarded.

The notice follows more than a year of negotiations between the Authority and University, according to James Davis, President/CEO of University Health Care System.

“This is an exciting day for University Health Care System and for the people who live and work in McDuffie County,” Mr. Davis said. “A few key people with input and direction from McDuffie County community, physicians and other community leaders worked hard during trying times to ensure that McDuffie County residents have high-quality health care close to home.

“I would like to thank Bill Doupe, Chairman of the McDuffie County Hospital Authority, and members of the Authority and the McDuffie Regional Medical Center Board,” Mr. Davis continued. “They showed foresight and forged ahead throughout this emotionally charged process because they have the best interest of McDuffie County and its residents at heart.”

Mr. Davis attributes the Attorney General’s favorable decision to the outpouring of community support at the March 29 public hearing, plus the many months of due diligence on the part of University and McDuffie leadership.

“The Authority decided to move toward an agreement with University after research convinced them that University had the operational strength and reputation necessary to guide the future of health care in McDuffie County,” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Davis said the next step is for both parties to finalize all the pertinent documents and set a date to finalize the agreement that is least disruptive to operations and accounting requirements. Meanwhile, planning will begin on the replacement not-for-profit community hospital, built entirely from University funds. Planning should take about six months with an additional 18 months to build, he estimated. The McDuffie Hospital Authority will nominate some of the board members of the new University Health Care subsidiaries, which will operate the hospital. The McDuffie hospital’s Board will always include an Authority member.

In February, University Health Inc. voted to purchase land for the new hospital a half mile north of Interstate 20 on U.S. Highway 78 that also fronts the Thomson Bypass. University is committed to finding, with input from a McDuffie County community advisory committee, an appropriate use for the current hospital site. Discussions between University and the Family Y of Thomson are ongoing regarding a joint use partnership.

“University has served McDuffie County patients for many years,” Mr. Davis said. “We look forward to serving its residents closer to home with a strong health care delivery system we can all be proud of. We are delighted to call Thomson home.”

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