Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


East Georgia Hospital Plans New Facility

By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF | Published January 19, 2012

St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital plans to build a new hospital on 24 acres as it moves forward under new ownership.

Good Samaritan Hospital, known as Saint Joseph’s East Georgia before Jan. 1, is now part of the St. Mary’s Health Care System based in Athens. In the ownership transfer, the hospital’s certificate of need and all of its facilities, property and equipment passed from Saint Joseph’s Health System of Atlanta to St. Mary’s. Both systems are part of Catholic Health East, and Saint Joseph’s Hospital formed a joint operating company with Emory Healthcare on Jan. 1.

Part of the immediate change was the addition of new technology at the 25-bed hospital, serving the Lake Oconee area of East Georgia.

For example, St. Mary’s installed a 64-slice CT scanner at Good Samaritan. The scanner, which is 16 times more powerful than the system it replaces, produces images of the inside of the body to help diagnose strokes, heart attacks and other illnesses.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to construct a new facility.

On Jan. 10, hospital officials announced St. Mary’s signed a contract to purchase 24 acres of land on the west side of Ga. 44 between West Lake Road and Carey Station Road for a new replacement hospital to serve Greene County and the lake area community.

“St. Mary’s is committed to meeting the health care needs of our community for many years to come,” said Montez Carter, interim chief executive officer of Good Samaritan and St. Mary’s vice president of operations.

He added, “Acquiring this property is a tremendous step forward and another demonstration of our commitment to creating a modern replacement hospital and maintaining our timeline of beginning construction in the second quarter of this year.”

“Having the new hospital located on a major thoroughfare such as State Route 44 will be a significantly positive element for the future growth of Greene County,” said board of commissioners chairman Dene Channell in a news release. “The county has certainly anticipated growth in the southern end of the county, and having the hospital strategically located to serve the county and region will be more and more beneficial over time.”

Going forward, a committee consisting of Good Samaritan Hospital board chairman Joe Gorman, board member Jody Haas, and the leadership of St. Mary’s and Good Samaritan will select partner organizations to design, develop and construct the new hospital.

“We are very excited about continuing to move forward on this important project,” said Don McKenna, St. Mary’s president and CEO. “We are looking forward to working with our medical staff leaders during the design phase of the project,” he said in a news release.

“Having a hospital in the county is a critical piece of the foundation on which our community was built,” Channell said. “Having a new hospital to serve Greene County and surrounding areas will only help stabilize this important element of our community while positioning the county to meet the needs of a growing population with emerging health care needs.”