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Corporate Plaza, Braselton hospital, Urgent Care centers opening in 2015
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Pat Belt unpacks steel case architectural walls inside the Northeast Georgia Health System’s new office spaces in Oakwood.

Help wanted
The Northeast Georgia Health System is seeking to fill positions at its Braselton hospital. Those interested can apply at nghscareers.com.

The Northeast Georgia Health System is going through a growth spurt, with its influence reaching far beyond its Gainesville base.

“We have been in very high capacity, day in and day out,” said Tony Herdener, chief financial officer. “You combine that with (population) growth and (people) getting older, we’re in a high-need part of the country.”

The health network is moving hundreds of employees into a new corporate support center off Frontage Road in Oakwood, where it has refurbished an old Sam’s Club store.

It’s also preparing to open Medical Plaza B at the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton campus off Ga. 347 in South Hall. The 100-bed hospital itself is slated for an April opening.

Also, Urgent Care centers are set to open soon in Dacula and Cleveland.

“Making sure we have access points throughout the region is consistent with health care reform,” Herdener said.

The health system’s last big construction project was the North Patient Tower in April 2009.

The $180 million addition to the main campus off Spring Street in Gainesville features 96 surgical beds, 32 intensive care unit beds, a waiting room for the Ronnie Green Heart Center and 23 operating rooms and post-anesthesia care units.

It also introduced a stacked stone, natural-look aesthetic to the system’s future buildings, health system spokesman Sean Couch said.

The health system opened Medical Plaza 400 in Dawson County in April 2013 north of the intersection of Ga. 53 and Ga. 400.

“Medical Plaza 400 gives us the opportunity to expand more of our outpatient and specialty services directly in the Dawsonville community,” health system spokeswoman Melis­sa Tymchuk said at the time.

And though it didn’t involve brick and mortar, the health system took another leap forward when it earned a Level II trauma designation in December 2013. The designation increases the number of seriously injured patients who can be treated at the hospital, potentially saving even more lives.

In a $14 million conversion of the 109,000-square-foot Sam’s Club building, the health system is bringing under one roof employees who had been scattered at several locations.

The move, possibly affecting as many 500 employees, will be mostly finished in February, said Mark Pinkerton, facilities project manager with the health system.

The health system received a certificate of occupancy for Medical Plaza B on Dec. 18 and immediately began moving in furniture.

Workers are installing equipment and technology during the next few weeks, and the first round of practices start seeing patients Jan. 12, said Anthony Williamson, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton president.

The first round consists of Cornerstone Surgery of Braselton, Neurophysiology Services, and the North Georgia Physicians Group’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Interventional Pain Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Surgical Associates and Vascular Center.

The second round, set for Jan. 19, features the cardiac testing laboratory and The Heart Center of NGMC.

Medical Plaza I opened several years ago off Ga. 347 near the new hospital

Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton construction “is essentially complete, though the contractor will work through small items on the punch list into February,” Williamson said.

The next few months will be spent on moving furniture, installing equipment, testing technology and processes, and training staff, among other tasks, he said.

The opening, while targeted for April, “is a fluid situation with many moving parts that could affect the date,” Williamson said.

The hospital will have some 800 positions, up significantly from earlier estimates.

Through Dec. 16, the system had filled 374 positions and still was recruiting for the remaining 425.

Applications are being accepted online at nghscareers.com, and the health system is planning job fairs in January, February and March, with details to be released later.

The Braselton hospital could further boost the fast-transforming area near Gwinnett and Barrow counties. Also reflecting the growth is a new four- and six-lane Ga. 347 built and being built between Ga. 211 in Braselton and Interstate 985 in Buford.

“Hospitals have a way of being an economic engine,” Herdener said.

Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, has said residents should expect a domino effect, with other businesses and practices opening after the hospital takes off.

“And those people who work in the medical center will have a cafeteria, but they’ll need other places to eat,” he said. “There’ll be other things that open up as a result.”

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