Cor­ner­stone and CHI Memo­rial part­ner­ship is a healthy union One of na­tion’s largest health care providers to man­age lo­cal hos­pi­tal

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page - By Mike O’Neal

Some­times great things come in tiny pack­ets.

That was per­haps the case about three weeks ago when a brief news re­lease an­nounced that Chat­tanooga-based CHI Memo­rial had signed an agree­ment to man­age Cor­ner­stone Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Fort Oglethorpe.

“They rec­og­nized us as a premier provider,” Larry Schu­macher, CEO of CHI Memo­rial and se­nior VP of oper­a­tions CHI South­east Di­vi­sion said when the con­tract was an­nounced. “We have been asked to bring life to this hos­pi­tal.”

Schu­macher said re­vi­tal­iza­tion of the former Hutch­e­son hos­pi­tal will be a col­lab­o­ra­tive process with Cor­ner­stone and its par­ent com­pany, ValorBridge. And while it might be the first such part­ner­ship for the CHI Memo­rial, this is not unique to the over­all Catholic Health Ini­tia­tive’s na­tional health care sys­tem.

“We have many man­age­ment ar­range­ments with smaller hos­pi­tals around the coun­try,” he said. “When there is a need, when there is a gap in ser­vices, we try to be­come in­volved to ei­ther close the gap or im­prove the health care in a re­gion.” Man­age­ment of the North Ge­or­gia hos­pi­tal is not CHI Memo­rial’s first foray into ar­eas once served by Hutch­e­son Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

“Since Hutch­e­son tran­si­tioned we have brought many of the prior HMC am­bu­la­tory care fa­cil­i­ties into our group,” Schu­macher said. The Chat­tanooga-based hos­pi­tal has as­sumed oper­a­tions at former Hutch­e­son clin­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties keep Hutch­e­son’s emer­gency room open when that bank­rupt hos­pi­tal closed. Cor­ner­stone Med­i­cal Cen­ter was formed as the first brick­sand-mor­tar fa­cil­ity owned by Apol­loMD.

Jes­sica Long, who has been Cor­ner­stone’s pres­i­dent and CEO since day one, will con­tinue in that post though now as an em­ployee of CHI Memo­rial.

“I’m re­ally proud of what we’ve ac­com­plished as Cor­ner­stone,” Long said fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment.”

Long said the man­age­ment agree­ment with the one of the area’s largest hos­pi­tals and with one of the na­tion’s largest hos­pi­tal net­works — CHI, based in Colorado, has $23 bil­lion in as­sets, an­nual op­er­at­ing rev­enues of $15.9 bil­lion and about 90,000 em­ploy­ees (in­clud­ing roughly 4,300 physi­cians and ad­vance prac­tice clin­i­cians — should be a boon to North­west Ge­or­gia.

“This is an­other way to ex­plore how we can best achieve the goals of ValorBridge to as­sure health care was pro­vided in this com­mu­nity,” she said. “This con­tin­ues that mission. It is an evo­lu­tion­ary process.”

The Fort Oglethorpe cam­pus of Corner­ston Med­i­cal Cen­ter, the former Hutch­e­son hos­pi­tal, is be­ing man­aged by Chat­tanoogabased CHI Memo­rial. (Mes­sen­ger photo/Mike O’Neal)

Larry Schu­macher

Jes­sica Long

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