Media contacts:
Michelle Robinson, WellStar Health System, Media Pager 404-533-0644
Ron Sauder, Emory Healthcare, 404-727-3366
Sherry Baker, Emory Heart Center, 404-778-4085
December 17, 2001


Wellstar Kennestone Hospital Receives CON Approval for New Cardiac Surgery Program in Conjunction with Emory Healthcare

MARIETTA, Ga (December 14, 2001) --WellStar Kennestone Hospital received certificate-of-need (CON) approval today to establish a community, not-for-profit open-heart surgery program and related clinical education and research at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, in collaboration with Emory Healthcare.

The new service will provide for cardiac surgeons from Emory's top-rated program to perform open-heart surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. The Emory Heart Center has been ranked among the nation's top 10 heart centers in the United States by U.S. News and World Report since 1990.

"The community was overwhelmingly supportive of a cardiac surgery program at WellStar Kennestone Hospital," says Dr. Robert Lipson, president of WellStar Health System. "Approximately 1,000 letters of support were received from area residents."

Serving a four-county region in greater Atlanta and the northwest Georgia suburbs, WellStar Kennestone Hospital treats over 200,000 patients per year. With over 100,000 patients treated in the emergency room annually, WellStar Kennestone ranks second to Grady Memorial Hospital in volume of emergency room visits.

WellStar's CEO Tom Hill said, "We are very excited about expanding our cardiac program at WellStar Kennestone Hospital to include open heart and angioplasty services in conjunction with Emory Healthcare's nationally acclaimed cardiothoracic surgery program. We are proud to offer patients access to this premier program and some of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in the country."

As part of the agreement with Emory Healthcare, WellStar Kennestone Hospital will be added as a training site for Emory's preeminent teaching program, which includes Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center and Grady Memorial Hospital.

"We're very pleased at the opportunity to work with the outstanding physicians and hospital leadership at WellStar Kennestone Hospital and to make our open-heart surgery services more accessible to the broad community in that area," said John Fox, president and COO of Emory Healthcare. "It's especially gratifying to feel so welcomed by the hospital and the Georgians it serves."

Emory Healthcare is the most comprehensive health care system in metropolitan Atlanta. It includes The Emory Clinic, the Emory Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital, Wesley Woods Center and the jointly owned Emory-Adventist Hospital. EHCA, LLC, a limited liability company governed jointly by Emory Healthcare and HCA-The Healthcare Company, further broadens Atlanta's access to care under the Emory umbrella, as does a strong hospital affiliate program throughout Georgia and neighboring states.

WellStar Health System is a community-owned and operated network including Cobb, Douglas, Kennestone, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals; WellStar Physicians Group; Medical Centers; Neighborhood Healthcare Centers; Health Place; Homecare; Hospice; Atherton Place and WellStar Foundation.

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