More than $1 billion in hospital improvements are being made in Hall County, with half of those at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton in South Hall.
And the expansion activities aren’t just confined to the main hospital at 1400 River Place, Braselton.
Construction is underway on Medical Plaza 2, a 100,000-square-foot medical office building on the hospital campus. And a new radiation machine is being added to the Braselton Cancer Center in Medical Plaza 1, also on the campus.
Anthony Williamson, president of NGMC Braselton, gave these updates to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s South Hall Business Coalition on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Hospital work divided in phases
Work on the $565 million main hospital expansion is on track for the first phase’s completion in summer 2025.
The project calls for adding 235,000 square feet of new clinical space, including two new patient care floors and 150 more acute-care beds that would bring the hospital’s bed number to 284.
When finished, the patient tower would be eight floors, including one floor with mechanical equipment that will serve the new space above it.
Plans also call for increasing the number of treatment rooms in the emergency department from 23 to 46 and adding a second helipad, which, the hospital has touted, will mean faster, more efficient access to life-saving heart, stroke and surgical care.
In addition, the hospital would add more than 200 new parking spaces for patients and visitors, and expand the pharmacy, laboratory, kitchen and other support spaces.
The project will be broken into two phases, with the second phase — including more treatment rooms and an enhanced area for behavioral health — set for completion in 2026.
New outpatient surgery center could open in fall
Medical Plaza 2, which will house a new outpatient surgery center, is set for completion by June.
The $52 million center behind Medical Plaza 1 will be off River Place, which runs between Friendship Road/Ga. 347 and the hospital.
The building will feature doctor’s offices, four operating rooms and two procedure rooms.
The surgery center is expected to open in the fall.
“There’s a process you have to go through with state licensure and all of those things,” Williamson said.
New radiation device could be ready to go by May
A second linear accelerator, or radiation treatment device, is being added at the Braselton Cancer Center at Medical Plaza 1.
The installation, set to take place this weekend, is costing the hospital $8 million to $9 million, Williamson said.
The equipment is expected to be ready by May.
The center, which opened in June 2021, combines Longstreet Clinic’s Medical Oncology and Hematology and Northeast Georgia Physicians Group’s Radiation Oncology.
“While we have been providing comprehensive cancer care in Braselton for many years now, this new space provides a more cohesive environment and access to both medical oncology/hematology and radiation oncology services, as well as a new dedicated entrance providing easier access for our cancer patients,” said Dr. Geoffrey Weidner, NGMC’s medical director of radiation oncology and a radiation oncologist with NGPG, in 2021.
More employees needed as health care grows
The reason for the growth is simple: More space is needed for more patients.
The hospital is in the middle of fast-growing South Hall, which saw a population boom over the past decade.
Hospital numbers from 2022 include 56,293 emergency department visits, 9,368 inpatient discharges, 7,546 surgeries and $1.6 billion in gross revenue.
Also, the hospital has 1,100 employees.
The Gainesville-based Northeast Georgia Health System, which is also building a $538 million tower at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville, is recruiting to fill 539 registered nurses and 30 licensed practical nurses, among other positions.
“We just have to figure out how to recruit, retain and get them all here,” Williamson said. “If you know folks that are interested in employment opportunities where they will always have a job, it’s health care.”