WINDER — For Northeast Georgia Health System President and CEO Carol Burrell, who grew up in Barrow County, Thursday’s open house at the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow was a festive homecoming.
Attendees enjoyed food and fire-roasted s’mores, and children rode a merry-go-round while hospital auxiliary members handed out bags of wildflower seeds and other freebies.
At the event, Burrell talked of reconnecting with old friends, praised the locals who turned out in large numbers “to welcome us to this family,” and noted how they would work together to make a positive impact on the community.
The Barrow hospital was officially transferred Jan. 1 to the Northeast Georgia Health System from Tennessee-based Quorum Health Corporation. The new partnership also includes Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, the system’s multi-specialty provider network, and directly connects the Winder-Barrow community to the system’s top-rated heart center.
Brand Bank executive Chris Maddox, who has spent most of his life in Barrow, had nothing but praise for the transfer,
“This is the best medical news in my lifetime. This is big,” Maddox said.
Danny Rampey, who serves on the hospital system’s advisory board, said the partnership with Northeast Georgia Health System will be “a shot in the arm” for the Barrow hospital as well as the community. Rampey owns a Winder assisted-living facility.
Barrow County Commission Chairwoman Pat Graham lauded Burrell and Barrow Regional Medical Center CEO Chad Hatfield, for “the investment which has been made and will continue to be made in this facility.”
Graham said the quality jobs and health care the hospital provides will enhance the county’s economic development program as business and industry look to expand.
“Thank you for your investment,” said Graham.
Winder Mayor David Maynard echoed Graham’s remarks, saying the partnership could be a game-changer as the area makes an economic rebound.
Longtime employee Patti Chambers, RN, who serves as director of quality and risk management, said many positive changes are being made, pointing to the new signage in the atrium where the ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted.
Hatfield said investments will include $450,000-plus on needed equipment related to patient care, and additional transformation of the interior in coming months.
A health fair with free screenings and a look inside the updated medical facility is also on the horizon, health system representatives said.