January 1, 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 - sgoodwi@emory.edu
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 - covnic@emory.edu

On Thursday, Dec. 11, the Emory University Board of Trustees authorized Michael M. E. Johns, M.D., executive director of Emory's Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center and chairman of the board and chief executive officer of EMORY HEALTHCARE, and other officers of Emory and EMORY HEALTHCARE to begin study and negotiation of the possible integration of the existing Clifton Road campus of Wesley Woods into EMORY HEALTHCARE. The Board of Directors of Wesley Woods, Inc. approved a similar action at its most recent meeting in November, according to William L. Minnix, Jr., D.Min., president and chief executive officer of Wesley Woods.

Under the proposed merger, the components of Wesley Woods located on Clifton Road would be combined into an entity called The Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc., and this center would be integrated with EMORY HEALTHCARE. Such an agreement would make more formal a long-standing collaborative relationship in which Emory physicians have staffed The Emory Clinic at Wesley Woods, the Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital and Budd Terrace of Wesley Woods. Dozens of medical and allied health students, residents and interns train at Wesley Woods each year, and Wesley Woods and Emory School of Medicine faculty and employees are involved in numerous research projects related to aging.

The Clifton Road operations of Wesley Woods include the Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, Wesley Woods Long Term Care Hospital, Wesley Woods Towers, Budd Terrace of Wesley Woods, the Health Center and the administrative offices of Wesley Woods. Under the relationship to be studied in detail, these operations would be merged into a single entity called the Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc. This new entity would become an operating unit of EMORY HEALTHCARE like The Emory Clinic, Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital, and the Emory Children's Center.

There would be overlapping board members between EMORY HEALTHCARE and The Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc. Dr. Johns and Dr. Minnix believe this move is a logical progression of the Emory/Wesley Woods relationship and offers immense benefits to both institutions -- and to the Atlanta community.

Dr. Minnix says, "This merger would position Wesley Woods and EMORY HEALTHCARE to deliver comprehensive, state of the art services for the elderly and those facing specialized chronic care problems. Together we will achieve breakthroughs in treating conditions which are today so costly to individuals, families, and the community."

Dr. Johns says "As we've moved through strategic planning in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center this past year, it's been increasingly clear that our strong relationship with Wesley Woods -- and with Wesley Woods CEO Larry Minnix and his staff -- are great strengths in today's healthcare and research environment. The expanded relationship would provide EMORY HEALTHCARE with an aging and chronic care component for its comprehensive healthcare program.

Wesley Woods would gain a strong partner in the fulfillment of its mission. As for the public, the new organization would be designed to improve quality and convenience for elderly and chronically ill patients and reduce overall costs of healthcare delivery."

At Emory, this proposed change comes on the heels earlier this year of the creation of the Emory Children's Center, the largest pediatric multi-specialty group in Georgia. Dr. Johns says, "The strengthening of the relationship with Wesley Woods further enables Emory to build a comprehensive system of healthcare, from prenatal and neonatal care to care for the aging."

The existing Wesley Woods, Inc. would continue as a corporation, to include Wesley Homes, Wesley Woods of Newnan-Peachtree City, Wesley Woods of Athens, The Cathedral of Christ the King-Wesley Woods, and the Foundation of Wesley Woods, Inc. The existing management of Wesley Woods, Inc. would become the senior management of the new operating company, The Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc.

Negotiation and planning could be completed as early as February 1998, according to Drs. Johns and Minnix. The final plan would need to return to the Wesley Woods Board of Directors and the North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and to the Emory Trustees. Pending their approval, the plan could be effective by July, 1998.


For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to hsnews@emory.edu.

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