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Good News Clinics takes another step toward 'Epic' $1 million goal
09272018 GRANT

Good News Clinics jumped $100,000 closer to its goal of implementing Epic as its electronic health record system.

The donation came from the James H. Downey Society, a group of retired and active physicians who support The Medical Center Foundation. The decision to contribute $100,000 was made during the society’s April 2019 meeting.

The Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees committed to raising more than $1 million to replace Good News Clinics’ process for faxing physician orders and medical histories with Epic, the electronic communication system.

Epic connects patients and health care providers to medical records, allowing for easier access and collaboration. Northeast Georgia Health System installed Epic as its record system in October 2017, and since then people have been reaping the benefits.

“Implementing Epic will allow each patient to have one chart that will follow the patient throughout their care,” said Dr. Antonio Rios, Downey Society member and chief physician executive of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, in a hospital press release. “It doesn’t matter if the patient is in the hospital, the Emergency Department or a clinic — all clinicians will be able to see the same information.”

Good News Clinics offers free dental and medical care to uninsured residents in Hall County who have a family income within 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

Liz Coates, executive director of Good News Clinics, said The Medical Center Foundation is only $400,000 away from reaching its more than $1 million commitment.

“I think it’s incredible that they recognize the values of the clinic being connected to the larger health system, as well as how important it is for improved health care coordination, patient safety, volunteer provider satisfaction and efficiency,” Coates said.

Don and Dot Pirkle of North Hall kicked off the campaign in 2018 by giving a “signature gift,” to the cause. This type of donation consists of $100,000 or more.

Chris Bray, president and chief development officer of the The Medical Center Foundation, said other large donations were made from the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation and Epic Systems Corporation.

The foundation also receives contributions from individuals and employees who are involved in the campaign.

Bray said the structure of the deal is such that Good News Clinics wouldn’t use the $1 million up front, but spread it over 10 years for the Epic program.

“Thank you to the group of physicians at the Downey Society,” he said. “It demonstrates their level of commitment to the community and that they are also committed to improving health care, and we’re grateful for that.”

For more information about the campaign for Good News Clinics, contact The Medical Center Foundation at 770-219-8099 or visit

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