The Board of Trustees of the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, d/b/a South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospital, and the co-owners of Berrien County Hospital, Mr. Chuck E. Jabaley and Mr. Frederick Lester, jointly announce that the Hospital Authority is purchasing Berrien County Hospital.”This purchase will expand access to specialty and sub-specialty care by offering additional high quality, affordable services to the citizens of Berrien County,” said Randy Sauls, CEO of SGMC. “Berrien County Hospital and its medical staff will benefit through resources and services of a strong regional healthcare partner.”Berrien County Hospital in Nashville, Georgia opened in 1965 and is licensed for 51 acute care beds and 12 geriatric/psychiatric beds, and employs 120 healthcare professionals. The hospital’s emergency department treats approximately 6,000 patients each year. In addition, the Hospital Authority will acquire a Primary Care Practice and an Urgent Care Walk-in Clinic that opened in March 2012 and provides services to approximately 29 patients a day. The Berrien Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center is not included in the purchase, however, the Hospital Authority will work closely with the Center’s staff to provide acute care for its patients.”I look forward to continuing the relationship with South Georgia Medical Center and Berrien County Hospital to take care of our patients,” stated Mr. Jabaley. “We know the Hospital Authority will be committed to continuing to provide the best patient care possible.”The Asset Purchase Agreement was signed today October 24, 2012 by Board Chairman, William S. Cowart, and Finance Committee Chairman, John W. Langdale Jr., of the Hospital Authority, and the co-owners of Berrien County Hospital. The acquisition will be completed following a due diligence period. During this time, Berrien County Hospital will continue operating under present ownership until the closing on or before February 28, 2013. Interim CEO/CFO, Stephanie L Fletcher, C.P.A., will continue to serve in this capacity until closing. After closing, Ms. Fletcher will continue as CFO of the Hospital. Berrien County Hospital employees will be offered employment consistent with the Hospital Authority’s Human Resources Policies and Procedures. Those employees hired after closing will continue with their same seniority, accrued paid time off, and healthcare benefits.”Berrien County Hospital is a vital healthcare provider in our community,” explains Ms. Fletcher. “My staff and I are excited about the opportunity to unite with South Georgia Medical Center and Smith North view Hospital. Their experience with patient care and quality services will help us continue our mission of being ‘Committed to Compassionate Community Care’.”The Hospital Authority owns and operates South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospital, Dasher Memorial Heart Center, Diabetes Management Center, Imaging Center, Health Care South Primary Care and Occupational Medicine, Hospice of South Georgia, Langdale Hospice House, Langdale Place, Pearlman Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wound Care Center, and Youth Care Center, Valdosta, Georgia, as well as South Georgia Health System affiliates including Louis Smith Memorial and Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center, Lakeland, Georgia, and Clinch Memorial Hospital, Homerville, Georgia.Mr. Sauls commented that the acquisition will result in no change to the Hospital Authority debt structure as it will be fully funded by the proceeds from the sale of the Greenleaf Center.