The Northeast Georgia Health System will open an emergency department at the former Chestatee Regional Hospital in Dahlonega in July and will later open a new hospital in Lumpkin County, the health system announced Wednesday.
The new hospital will be called Northeast Georgia Medical Center Lumpkin, and emergency services will be provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the same physicians at the health system’s other hospitals in Gainesville, Braselton and Barrow County.
Chestatee Regional closed in July 2018, leaving a health care void in Lumpkin that NGHS looked to fill by expanding urgent care hours there.
The temporary hospital opening at the former Chestatee Regional site in July will have an emergency department, some inpatient beds and imaging services.
“We’re thrilled to share this exciting news, which ensures people in and around Lumpkin County will have local access to the high-quality health care they need for generations to come,” Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS, said in a statement.
NGHS already owns a 57-acre site off of Ga. 400 near the intersection with Ga. 60 in Dahlonega that will be developed into the permanent NGMC Lumpkin. The number of beds and operating rooms at that hospital will be determined in the planning process. That hospital will tentatively open in 2022.
“This is an answered prayer for those of us who have lived and worked in Lumpkin County for decades,” Dr. Donna Whitfield said in a statement. Whitfield is a fifth-generation Dahlonega native and internal medicine physician with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group who has practiced in Lumpkin for 18 years.
NGHS is currently leasing the former Chestatee Regional property from The University System of Georgia Board of Regents. The University of North Georgia hopes to someday relocate some of its health sciences programs and services to the building.
“These positive changes in our local healthcare landscape create exciting opportunities to enhance the way we teach and prepare our students,” UNG President Bonita Jacobs said in a statement.
State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, said the new hospital will boost the county’s economy.
“We’ve all seen the growth and prosperity a new hospital and associated development can bring, and we look forward to working alongside NGHS to build a better future for our community,” Gooch said in a statement.