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