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Atrium Health Floyd looks to build freestanding emergency department in Chattooga County

November 22, 2021–6:36 p.m.


Atrium Health Floyd plans to establish northwest Georgia’s first freestanding emergency department in Chattooga County, bringing a new level of 24/7 emergency care to residents of Summerville, Trion, Lyerly, and surrounding communities.

Working with the Chattooga County Commissioner’s office and through discussion with state elected officials, Atrium Health Floyd identified the need to provide around-the-clock emergency care to these rural communities and on Monday, Nov. 22 submitted a Letter of Intent to apply for a Certificate of Need to build and operate the new freestanding emergency department in Chattooga County.

“Access to necessary medical care in rural areas is an important state policy goal for Georgia, and this is an issue we have been in communication with the Governor’s office about,” said Kurt Stuenkel, President, and CEO of Atrium Health Floyd. “Atrium Health Floyd will fulfill an unmet need for the Chattooga County area. Currently, patients can travel an hour or more in an emergency situation to get to an emergency department. We will build and operate a brand new, high-quality emergency department in this area. The presence and services in this new facility will dramatically improve outcomes and save lives by making expert emergency care available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Atrium Health Floyd filed a Letter of Intent with the Georgia Department of Community Health stating the organization’s intentions to apply for a Certificate of Need to build the new facility. Georgia requires health care organizations to obtain a Certificate of Need before expanding some services or building new facilities.

The new freestanding emergency department will be located next to Walmart on U.S. Highway 27. This will provide convenient and easy access to residents traveling from any point in the county. An option to purchase this property has been signed. The facility will provide emergency care services 24/7 and include six treatment rooms along with onsite laboratory and imaging services, including x-ray and a computed tomography (CT) scanner. The new facility is projected to cost $18.5 million and create 40 jobs for the community.

“For nearly 80 years, since 1942, Floyd, now Atrium Health Floyd, has provided affordable, accessible care in the communities we serve. And, we have a long history of serving and improving care to Chattooga County residents not only from our facilities in Floyd County, but also with Primary, Urgent Care, and numerous other services,” Stuenkel said. “There are about 24,000 visits a year to the Floyd Urgent Care center in Chattooga County. With this volume of patients, it is not an exaggeration to say that we serve nearly the entire population of Chattooga County residents at one point or another every year.”

Floyd has been providing Primary Care and Urgent Care services in Chattooga County for nearly three decades—since 1994, now with five physicians and a nurse practitioner in the community and with extended hours. Floyd also provides hospice and bereavement care, non-emergency transport, and mobile mammography to residents in the area. In addition, Floyd has entered into long-term relationships with both Chattooga County schools and Trion schools, where we provide athletic trainers and other programs and support for school-aged children and their families.

“Our commitment to Chattooga County is well-demonstrated, and we intend to go to another level by providing this new freestanding emergency department,” Stuenkel said.

Atrium Health Floyd will file for a Certificate of Need within the next month. The Georgia Department of Community Health will review the application.

“We believe that this application has tremendous merit and will provide a dramatic improvement in access and outcomes for patients who are in emergency medical situations,” Stuenkel said. “We are confident that approval is warranted and justified, and that Floyd has demonstrated continuous commitment to the residents of Chattooga County.”

The Chattooga County facility would be Atrium Health’s first freestanding emergency department in Georgia. Atrium

Health currently operates seven freestanding emergency departments in North Carolina.