Prior to the Georgia attorney general giving his approval in 2017, Northside agreed to invest $500 million into the Gwinnett system over 10 years, and to satisfy its debts, then about $275 million, Gwinnett officials testified. A spokeswoman for Northside did not confirm the final numbers Wednesday but said Northside would pay off all Gwinnett debt by Aug. 28.
The big question is whether prices will rise for patients. That often happens when hospitals consolidate, though research isn’t conclusive. This deal leaves four big health systems competing against each other in metro Atlanta, and fewer competitors overall. A fifth system, Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, does not compete with the others for adult patients. The last independent hospital in metro Atlanta, DeKalb Medical Center, went under Emory’s management last year.
The expanded Northside Hospital system will have 1,636 inpatient beds and 3,500 physicians on staff. Debbie Mitcham, the chief financial officer for the Northside Hospital system, will replace the CEO of the Gwinnett locations, who will retire.
“Patients of the Gwinnett Health System will notice virtually no changes in their regimen of treatment and care,” the system announced in a statement, and they are working to combine seamlessly.