May 1998

Media Contacts: Elyse Hammett, 404/778-7697, Wesley Woods

Traci Simmons, 404/727-8599, Emory

EMORY HEALTHCARE and Wesley Woods Center have completed an agreement integrating components of Wesley Woods located on Clifton Road into EMORY HEALTHCARE. These components -- the Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, Wesley Woods Towers, Budd Terrace of Wesley Woods, the Health Center and the administrative offices of Wesley Woods -- will become a new entity called The Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc.

"This is the most important decision that our organization has made since its founding in the mid-1950s," says Dr. William L. Minnix, Jr., D.Min., president and chief executive officer of Wesley Woods. "The relationship with Emory fulfills a vision of Emory leaders and United Methodist leaders of the North Georgia Annual Conference to pioneer and develop innovative services for older people. Under the new collective name and organization, the components of the Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc. will continue Wesley Woods' traditional mission of geriatric care, including education and research in geriatrics. The late Dr. W. Candler Budd, the founding father of Wesley Woods, would be proud to see what has now come to fruition. But the best is yet to be. Together with Emory we will achieve breakthroughs in treating conditions which are today so costly to individuals, families and the community."

This Center will be an operating unit of EMORY HEALTHCARE with an organizational, reporting, budgetary and fiscal relationship to EMORY HEALTHCARE comparable to that of the other operating units: The Emory Clinic, Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital and the Emory Children's Center. The integration of The Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc. into EMORY HEALTHCARE is expected to become effective September 1, 1998, pending endorsement by the North Georgia Annual Conference and completion of final plan details.

The transaction has been under discussion since December, when the Emory University Board of Trustees and the Wesley Woods, Inc. Board of Directors authorized a period of study and negotiation. Last week the Woodruff Board (those Emory Trustees who govern the Woodruff Health Sciences Center) and the Executive and Finance Committees of the full Emory board met in a special meeting to give their unanimous blessings to the proposal by Michael M. E. Johns, MD, executive vice president for Health Affairs and director of The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and chairman of the board and chief executive officer of EMORY HEALTHCARE.

Later in the day the Wesley Woods Board of Directors unanimously approved the same agreement, put before them by Dr. Minnix. Wesley Woods is affiliated with the North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church which will review the proposal at its June meeting.

"This joining together is a natural," says Dr. Johns. "It builds on a long history of shared research, teaching, and patient care. We're delighted. Bringing Wesley Woods closer into EMORY HEALTHCARE better enables us to achieve our strategic goal of building a fully integrated healthcare delivery system for patients from newborn and childhood through older adulthood. Furthermore, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center's recently completed strategic planning for research of the future called for the creation of an aging center of excellence. In terms of both patient care and research, older and chronically ill adults are the chief winners in this expanded relationship."

In fact, both men agree the relationship is a real "win-win" for all concerned, but most importantly for the people both serve. Emory is getting the geriatric expertise, programs and facilities that now become an integral part of EMORY HEALTHCARE. Wesley Woods gains the world class professional expertise of Emory, as well as support services and other economic advantages. These include reduction of costs through consolidation of overhead and the ability to refinance construction and other debt at lower cost, resulting in savings in healthcare delivery for individuals and for society through Medicare payments. Dr. Minnix says the agreement also "improves benefits for our approximately 1,000 employees who will now become employees of this new company."

Dr. Minnix adds that "Wesley Woods especially appreciates the leadership of Dr. Johns who has set our sights for becoming the best in the world in the aging and chronic care field."

In turn, Dr. Johns credits a large part of the increasingly strong relationship between the two institutions to Dr. Minnix, who has helped Emory and Wesley Woods jointly build a multi-million dollar program of research related to aging and chronic care on the Wesley Woods Clifton Road campus and to strengthen shared clinical programs. Emory physicians already staff 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.

Under the new agreement, Dr. Minnix and his senior management team will become the top leadership of the new Wesley Woods Center of Emory University. A new board will be created that will include both Dr. Minnix; Dr. Johns, who will serve as Chairman of the Board; and existing members of the Wesley Woods board. The boards of the Wesley Woods Center and EMORY HEALTHCARE will have some overlapping directors.

The existing Wesley Woods, Inc. will continue as a corporation. It will include Wesley Homes, Inc., Wesley Woods of Newnan-Peachtree City, Wesley Woods of Athens, The Cathedral of Christ the King-Wesley Woods, Inc., and the Foundation of Wesley Woods, Inc. Dr. Minnix and the current senior management at Wesley Woods will continue to manage these Wesley Woods Inc. operations through long-term management contracts.


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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