SGMC Announces Acquisition of Smith Northview HospitalThe Board of Trustees of Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, d/b/a South Georgia Medical Center and the Board of Directors of Smith Northview Hospital jointly announce that SGMC is acquiring Smith Northview Hospital for approximately forty million dollars and the assumption of some existing debt.Health care is coming under increasing scrutiny to deliver the highest quality of patient care in the most efficient manner. Combining the two facilities under one organizational structure will allow for an expansion of patient services while eliminating duplication of services and ultimately lowering costs for patients in the 10 county region served by SGMC.The Asset Purchase Agreement was signed May 12, 2011 by two members of the Hospital Authority of Valdosta-Lowndes County on behalf of SGMC and CEO Sam Lewis of Ameris Health Systems, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Smith of Georgia, LLC, which owns Smith Northview Hospital. The acquisition will be finalized following a due diligence period. During this time, both hospitals will continue operating as they have and no employees will lose their positions because of the Agreement. The physicians with privileges solely at Smith Northview will see no change at this time. Senior managers at Smith, CEO Jim Matney and CFO Shamb Purohit, will continue in these positions after closing. Lewis has agreed to serve as a consultant to the Hospital Authority in order to assist with the operational transition. “We are extremely excited at the opportunity to have a unified healthcare delivery system in Lowndes County,” said James McGahee, CEO of SGMC. “Both hospitals have a long history of patient care in this region and we are committed to continuing to provide the best care possible to our community. The SGMC Board of Trustees and Management Team look forward to welcoming the fine employees of Smith Northview into the highly skilled and dedicated family of SGMC employees,” McGahee added.McGahee explained that pending changes in healthcare legislation created an opportune time for the acquisition of the private, investor-owned hospital. “With the changes ahead in the healthcare industry, combining two strong institutions makes sense. On behalf of Smith Northview and our investors, we know that SGMC will take care of our patients and employees, and the community will be better served by having a strong regional healthcare system,” said Lewis.Smith Northview Hospital opened in its current location on N. Valdosta Road in Valdosta in 2002, moving from the former Smith Hospital facility in Hahira, where it operated for more than 50 years. The private facility has grown to 45 beds with 600 employees.SGMC is a full service community hospital with 335 patient beds and 3,200 employees. The hospital has aggressive expansion plans for the hospital’s main campus, beginning in the spring of 2011.There are no plans to change the name of Smith Northview Hospital.