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University Hospital Welcomes McDuffie to the Family July 3, 2012

July 2, 2012
Media Contact: Rebecca Sylvester, 706.828.2394 or Erica Cline, 706.828.2225

University Hospital Welcomes McDuffie to the Family

THOMSON, Ga. -- Elected officials and community leaders gathered today to celebrate a “new beginning” for University Hospital McDuffie. The event, held under the portico of the hospital’s main entrance, included remarks from leaders representing McDuffie County and University and an unveiling of the new campus sign.

“Today is a celebration,” began Jim Davis, President/CEO of University Health Care System. “Not of a name change. Not of a real estate transaction. Today is a celebration of a new beginning. A partnership forged to ensure quality health care in McDuffie County into the future.”

Mr. Davis explained that many people worked countless hours to bring University Hospital to McDuffie County, with the assurance of quality care close to home as the singular motive and driving force.

“We stand by our commitment to invest in this community. We will collaborate with others and promise to always give our best efforts to fulfill the mission of the founders of this hospital,” Mr. Davis continued. “We are proud to call this community home and hope that you will encourage all your friends and family to Insist on University McDuffie.”

Sandra McVicker, CEO of University Hospital McDuffie, said the event was an exciting day for “me and for the employees, physicians and volunteers of University Hospital McDuffie. This hospital has a committed staff and physicians who deliver quality care every day. Our goal is to build on that strong foundation. We will strengthen all that is good about our hospital and commit to making it better – not in two years in a new building – but inside these walls today and every day leading up to that move.

“At University we know that a hospital is more than bricks and mortar,” Mrs. McVicker continued. “Sure, the facility is important, but what we relish is building character, relationships and partnerships. And when everything is said and done, we want to be able to say that what we do at University Hospital McDuffie is take care of patients and their families, and we do it well. That is my commitment to you.”

Other speakers at the celebration included Robin Dudley, McDuffie Regional Medical Center Board Member; Charlie Newton, McDuffie County Commission Chair and Pastor Bryant Neal, University Hospital McDuffie Chaplain.

The final report from the Georgia Attorney General was released May 1, 2012, 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 followed more than a year of negotiations between the Authority and University.

Mr. Davis said he 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 County leadership.

Meanwhile, University is planning the replacement not-for-profit community hospital, built entirely from University funds, by 2014. 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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