DeKalb Medical, Emory Healthcare announce merger plan

DeKalb Medical will become part of the Emory Healthcare system if a planned partnership goes ahead in 2018.

The two nonprofit institutions said Nov. 14 that they have signed a letter of intent to develop a strategic partnership, in which DeKalb Medical would come under the Emory Healthcare system – Georgia’s largest.

In a joint statement, they said the partnership would allow for continued growth and expanded services to better serve the community.

Robert Wilson, president and CEO of DeKalb Medical, said the nonprofit health system is excited about the future.

“Our community has counted on us for 56 years and we’ve always been here – growing to meet our community’s needs,” he said. “This partnership will strengthen our ability to continue to deliver high quality community-based healthcare.”

Both health systems say they anticipate finalizing the partnership in 2018, after receiving final approval from regulatory agencies.

Emory Healthcare CEO Jonathan Lewin said both institutions have a commitment to providing exceptional care to the community, and a partnership would strategically support that effort.

“We understand the importance of both community hospitals and academic medical centers in delivering optimal care to our patients,” said Lewin, who is also executive vice president for health affairs at Emory University.

DeKalb Medical, which has three hospitals in Decatur and Lithonia and 50 physicians group offices, hit a rough patch late last year when John Shelton resigned as CEO and about 60 workers were laid off amid financial strain. The health care system, which has 115 providers in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, also did away with about 80 vacant positions in the latter part of 2016.

In August 2016 John Katsianis resigned as DeKalb Medical’s chief financial officer for personal reasons, and on Nov. 11, 2016, the institution’s board accepted the resignation of chief operating officer Dane Henry, effective immediately. His reason for leaving was not made public.

DeKalb Medical’s staff of 3,900 includes 820 doctors in 55 specialties.

DeKalb Medical’s 2017 fiscal year statistics show there were 24,736 annual admissions, 560,176 outpatient visits, 130,106 emergency visits and 4,386 births.

Emory Healthcare, established in 1905, is the largest health care system in Georgia and includes the clinically integrated Emory Healthcare Network, established in 2011, with nearly 2,000 Emory and private practice physicians in 70 specialties and seven hospitals in metro Atlanta.

It also comprises the Emory Clinic, Emory Wesley Woods campus, 200 provider locations across Georgia, and nearly 60 urgent care clinics in metro Atlanta, as well as Emory Specialty Associates, an outreach physician practice organization with 34 locations in 11 counties statewide.

Emory Healthcare, the clinical component of Emory University, is part of Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, an academic health center comprising hospitals and clinics as well as schools of medicine, public health and nursing, the Winship Cancer Institute, and Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

It has total operating revenue of more than $4 billion a year and gets more than $500 million in annual research funding.