Blue Angels, Thunderbirds to flyover Atlanta on Saturday

Announcements, State & National

ATLANTA, Ga – The Blue Angels and Thunderbird flyover on May 2 is in support of the state’s frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.

It will begin over Marietta at 1:35 p.m. and last 25 minutes, ending at 2 p.m. The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels flight path will take them over Buckhead, Sandy Springs,  up to Roswell. The formations will then turn to the south over downtown, Atlanta airport, Fayetteville, and Peachtree City.

Residents are asked to safely view the flyover from their home-quarantine and to refrain from traveling. Social distancing should also be practiced.

Flight path for May 2.

These times are subject to change.

“America Strong is a way for both teams to show appreciation to the thousands of doctors, nurses, first responders, and essential workers out there serving on the frontline day-in and day-out,” said Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, U.S. Navy Blue Angels commanding officer and flight leader for the flyover. “This is an extraordinary and unprecedented time but we will get through this. We are all in this together.”

A formation of 6 F-16C/D Fighting Falcon and 6 F/A-18C/D Hornet aircraft will conduct these flyovers as a collaborative salute to healthcare workers, first responders, military, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This mission, the second of several planned over the coming weeks, is the culmination of more than a month of planning and coordination between the two teams and numerous city and government offices.

The teams welcome and encourage viewers to tag the demonstration teams at @AFThunderbirds and @BlueAngels the flyover on social media with the hashtag #AmericaStrong and #Inthistogether.

For photos and video for America Strong, visit,

For more information on the Blue Angels, visit

For more information on the Thunderbirds, visit

Myth’s, Illusions or Truths?


Most of our nation’s young people under the age of 30, are the products of some form of
government control. They enjoyed free meals at schools, health care, education, housing, etc..
The expected requirement of their acceptance was to obey teachers and school administrators.
The punishment that followed, if they deviated from the official dogma, was to be ostracized and
shamed. Through the collectivization of their thought process, they needed to only to know what
was taught to them and to ignore what they learn outside the school environment from their
parents, friends, relatives and Fox news. Attempts at original thought was/is discouraged.

Schools can’t proceed as they do without the political and financial support of politicians; the
very ones, the “Establishment Elites,” we are fighting today. It is they who organize the standard
dumb-down curriculum to ensure implementation of their socialist ideas without comment. All
propaganda and brainwashing. Don’t dare show up with a MAGA hat.

Unobstructed, politicians know that the more they lie the more we tend to believe them and
become more dependent on them. Without the constant barrage of propaganda, our attention
span would decline and they’ed lose control over our actions. The present predicament of the
Progressive sneaked up on ‘em and their supporters in the elections of 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The Democrat Elites lost control because believed their own nonsense and didn’t see the Trump
tidal wave coming. We see it often enough when we recognize otherwise smart folks acting
contrary to their own best interests without a second thought. That’s the power of propaganda
but, it must be a continuous daily drumming on the listeners’ senses if it is to stick!

Trump, like a breeze of fresh air, beyond all possible reasoning of media ‘pundents,’ confronted
them with a serious challenge to their belief system and their minds closed tight, because,
without a script or a firm belief that their dumbing down of the populous has really worked, they
don’t know what to do. Witness Sen. Elizabeth, the Indian Princess. Her defense of her
Pocahontas DNA tests was a fraud. That wee drop of native blood she says she has comes
from South America, from an illegal no doubt. Trump trolled her and, like a slippery fish bent on
absolution, she rose to the bait and now looks like a complete fool. It’s exactly the same for silly
Hillary who thinks she and Bill can tour the country, at $1000.00 a head, and draw the big
crowds like Trump does.

When challenged, progressives immediately go into avoidance behavior. They scream, holler or
’PooPoo’ the challenge as a “Vast Right-Wing conspiracy,” label it as stupid and unworkable and
move on to the next subject threatening dire punishment for any who dare question their truth.
Alinskites know that organized and sophisticated propaganda operates outside the normal level
of intelligence. So, without some reason to ask questions, as many intelligent people don’t, they
accept the lies and myths the same as the mass general population. Repeated often enough,
the propaganda then becomes conventional wisdom because, we rarely accept challenges to
conventional wisdom. Once belittled, it’s never considered again. Here is where they ignore
facts even when those facts support contrary knowledge, and embrace “stupid.”

When do myths, used to persuade people, become dangerous? When the people accept them
as ‘benefits. That’s the power of propaganda. Losing an illusion actually makes us wiser than
finding a truth.

Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (17Oct18)

Congressman Doug Collins stops in Gilmer County to discuss national issues

News, Politics

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Congressman Doug Collins made a brief stop at the Republican Women of Gilmer County meeting Thursday, Feb. 22. Collins has served as a U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 9th Congressional District since 2013.

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Congressman Doug Collins speaks at the Republican Women of Gilmer County meeting.

Collins spoke to the crowd concerning on a number of issues currently being addressed in Washington D.C. and took several questions from audience members on a wide variety of subjects.

“We came through a year, last year, where our biggest failure overall was, frankly, healthcare,” Collins stated, giving attendees an update on the happenings in our capital.

Feeling that the House did their job in trying to address some of the difficulties the nation faces when it comes to healthcare, Collins said that reform and change fell short due to the Senate.

“We did our job. We passed something to the Senate,” Collins explained. “The Senate is just marred and not moving.”

Collins has been a long time advocate to change rules that dictate the actions of the Senate. These regulations can and often do slow or completely stall progress from being made in our nation. In Congress, legislation can be passed by a simple majority vote.

The Senate, however, requires a supermajority of 60 votes for many pieces of legislation to pass rather than the 51 votes that would be required if the Senate went by simple majority vote.

“The 60 vote rule has got to go,” Collins spoke straightforward about his feelings on the issue, “at least on appropriations.”

According to Collins, the Senate currently has many pieces of legislation passed by Congress and has created a bottleneck in moving forward. Collins stated that of the bills currently sitting at the Senate waiting to be addressed, 85 to 90 percent of these bills were passed by Congress with fewer than five representatives voting against their moving forward.

In regards to healthcare, Collins said that there needs to be review and scrutiny of mandatory spending such as Medicaid. He stressed that he is not in favor of eliminating such programs but wants to slow the expansion.

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Collins took the time to continue answering questions from residents after his presentation.

“Medicaid was meant for the aged, blind, disabled and those who couldn’t take care of themselves,” Collins said, expressing his thoughts on this particular program. “You put a healthy able-bodied adult on Medicaid (and) what you do is you take healthcare away from the aged, blind, disabled and those who can’t take care of themselves.”

“That’s just wrong. That’s why we got to fix healthcare,” Collins added.

Several questions concerning gun control and safety in public schools were asked in the wake of another mass shooting that took place last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“This week was another tragedy of a very sick individual doing something very wrong and very twisted, using a gun,” Collins, a supporter of the Second Amendment, explained of his thoughts on how these situations should be approached on a federal level. “A gun did not walk into that school and kill anybody.”

Stressing the need for compassion for those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, Collins wants there to be meaningful discussion and meaningful answers to this problem. He fears that passing any “bumper sticker” legislation as a quick fix would only fail shortly after.

“Are there responsible ownership of guns? You better believe it. Do some people probably not need to own a gun? Yeah,” Collins stated, proposing a look at circumstances in a realistic fashion.

While Collins does feel that certain agencies dropped the ball and should have to answer for and be held accountable to their mistakes, he also feels that first as a nation we need to uphold the laws that are currently in place.

Collins expressed these thoughts: “Explain to me how I can pass a law, that if they are ignoring it now, how does passing another law make it better?”

Collins was optimistic about certain directions the country is currently heading: “Our country is being portrayed as strong again.”

“We are starting to see the economy start to take off again,” Collins said, addressing the recent passing of the Tax Reform Act and the need for more employees in the workforce.

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The congressman also posed for pictures with fellow Republicans.

“We are trying to move what we know as Welfare to Work,” Collins said, discussing current legislation being proposed in Congress. “We are trying to get people through bad times, you know when we need to help them, but it is now time to begin that transition off of the assistance programs into meaningful work.”

Audience member, Noraye Hinds, brought up a key issue that is of concern to Republicans in the upcoming 2018 election year: “Hate is a motivator, and that is what is going to get the Democrats out to vote.”

Collins agreed and said, “We’ve got a tough year coming.”

Collins explained that on average, there is a loss of 32 seats held by the majority in the House in a mid-term election following a presidential election. Furthering concern for the Republicans, 26 of the seats up for election this year are in districts that Hillary Clinton won majority vote.

“If we lose 24 (seats), we lose the majority,” Collins spoke frankly.

He spoke of specific seats that Democrats are targeting in Georgia. Representative Karen Handel of Georgia’s 6th District and Congressman Rob Woodall of Georgia’s 7th District could face tough elections as the demographics of their areas are changing.

Collins spoke exclusively with FetchYourNews (FYN) about concerns over losing control of the House.

In a controversial move Feb. 19, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new map for the state’s U.S. House of Representatives districts. The new map, aimed at removing what some in the state considered Republican gerrymandering, now seems to favor Democrats.

Collins told FYN, “This is very concerning. You’re looking at worst case a 9-9 map. Best case a 10-8 map.”

According to Collins there is not much that can be done to overturn the changes made in Pennsylvania. In order to be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court there must be proof of a violation of U.S. law, but since the state Supreme Court ruling was based on the Pennsylvania Constitution, it is unlikely that federal courts would get involved.

Collins told FYN, as of right now, there is not major concern that other states will follow suit in redistricting, and praised his home state of Georgia: “Georgia has some of the cleanest maps in the country.”

“What I view as a good map,” Collins said, further explaining his feelings on the district layout of Georgia, “Does it reflect the homogeneity of an area, does it reflect the population of an area and does it give everybody a chance? If it does that, then you’re meeting most of the test.”

Collins feels there are two key issues that might hurt Republicans in the upcoming elections. The first being that while Republicans have a good message, sometimes that message does not get portrayed clearly.

“Turn out is our problem,” Collins expressed of the second and potentially more damaging issue. Collins urged those in attendance to be active in not only voting themselves but in spreading the word about candidates in the state of Georgia.

Collins thanked constitutes for electing him to his position and spoke candidly about his job: “At the end of the day, it’s about helping people. It’s about realizing where you come from.”


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at


Natalie Kissel

Health and roads dominate Ellijay’s November council


ELLIJAY, Ga – Prior to the Ellijay City Council’s November Meeting, they heard a proposal from Russel Brown, local paramedic, for a community welfare program similar to programs in other counties like Floyd County.

According to Brown, patients statistically do better recovering at home. This program would encourage and supervise home health. Different from home healthcare programs, Brown said much of the welfare program is focused on prevention of readmission to hospitals and emergency rooms. They would focus on aspects like vital signs and communication for paperwork. If the program moves forward, it would start out within the Ellijay City Limits.

Funding and grants are available, Brown said, and much of the expense would come from strips for glucometers to measure blood glucose. While he hopes one day it could grow into a community paramedic program, he wished to start at community welfare. Those providing the service would be limited in care, and Brown stated that EMS would still be called for necessary situations.

Specific details for the proposal will come possibly as early as the December City Council meeting as the council requested Brown to return with an official written proposal to detail more things like cost and liability among others.

Signs of Interest is proposing this sign change on behalf of the Gilmer Nursing Home and SunLink Health Systems.

Signs of Interest is proposing this sign change on behalf of the Gilmer Nursing Home and SunLink Health Systems.

Another healthcare entity presented a variance request to change the sign for Gilmer Nursing Home on 1362 South Main St.  While the variance request was submitted to exceed the three-foot sign regulation of the city, it would in fact be lower than the current sign. Standing at 21 feet now, the request states the new sign will only reach 12 feet in height. A representative from Signs of Interest, Andy Lawson, told FYN the sign change was partially to clean up the facilities appearance and simplify the extras to a lower “nicer looking sign.”

Officially approved by the council, the sign will include a small message board to be utilized by the nursing home. Lawson provided FYN with a drawing of what the sign is expected to look like. Though the sign change is indicative of a name change as part of a remodeling project, Lawson told the council that SunLink Health Systems still owns the nursing home.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to abandon part of Highway 382 to rebuild it as a direct line to Highway 515.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to abandon part of Highway 382 to rebuild it as a direct line to Highway 515.

Following the same road further south, Highway 382’s changes came to Ellijay with a formal notification by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) that they will abandon the section of Highway 382 that currently extends from the intersection of 382 and Old Highway 5 to the connection at Highway 515. As seen in the picture, GDOT will be constructing a new connector straight across to Highway 515 with a roundabout at the intersection.

The notification comes with the city of Ellijay needing to accept the abandoned portion of 382 into its responsibility for paving and maintenance. However, a motion was made at the meeting to table the item. Citizens can expect the council to revisit the issue in December.

Along with their discussion of roads, an official petition has reached the council to add speed bumps to Gilmer Street near the Senior Center. The petition garnered 20 names and roused discussion from the council about returning the street to a one-way street as well as discussion on purchasing speed bumps for the street. Continued complaints about the speed of vehicles on the street led to suggestions to officially request the change via petition. Discussion took a turn as Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey informed the council that the street was, at one time, a one-way street.

Gilmer Street is a more narrow street and discussion arose  as, if the city returned it to one way, they were unsure of which way to direct the traffic. The council tabled the item and requested an official recommendation from Lacey, on how to return it to a one-way street, to discuss along with the speed bumps option. Again, citizens should look for the council to revisit the item in December.


Senator David Perdue: August 2017 In Photos



Op–Ed submitted by Todd Rehm


Georgia is suffering a wave of overdoses as new forms of extremely potent and often deadly drugs make their way into our communities. In fact, a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that opioid-related hospital admissions nearly doubled between 2009 and 2014 –  the highest rate of the 43 states examined.  The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals and our 86 members across the state are proud to be part of the first-line of response to these sobering tragedies.

These illegal drugs, which know no geographic, demographic or economic bounds, have changed the way that overdoses come into our hospital emergency rooms and demonstrate the importance of having a robust and resilient network of hospital emergency departments.

Increasingly, overdoses come in clusters of multiple incidences within a short time.  The impact on an emergency room can be paralyzing, even for a large Metro Atlanta hospital, much less a smaller facility in a rural market.  The impact can also be lasting, as stabilized patients often require prolonged medical support, including intensive care and services from a number of different departments.

On top of this growing epidemic, emergency rooms are also experiencing increased visits related to behavioral or mental health, which have have skyrocketed nearly 60% over the same period.  This is in addition to the heart attacks, accidents and other life threatening situations that bring patients through their doors and require a hospital’s full capabilities to treat.  This week, Becker’s Hospital Review ranked the emergency rooms with the most visits per year, placing two Metro Atlanta facilities in the top ten nationwide.

As hospitals deal with the strain of increasing admissions, the existence of a strong network of neighboring hospitals helps distribute the patient load and ensure timely access to care.  But today, as hospitals across Georgia struggle under the pressure of financial challenges caused by factors including changing demographics, growing numbers of underinsured and uninsured patients, and declining populations – that network is at risk.

For example, it is estimated that Georgia hospitals performed $1.7 billion dollars worth of uncompensated care in 2015 alone, which is simply unsustainable.  In addition, potential cuts in Medicare and Medicaid are being discussed in Washington, DC, that would force more hospitals to close their doors, as 7 in Georgia and 80 across the nation have been forced to do since 2010.

One of the keys to the stability of Georgia’s network of care is the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) program.  This critical tool helps the state manage the availability and financial survival of safety net hospitals while ensuring access to emergency departments, advanced treatment, and routine healthcare needs.   Despite the tenuous status of our current healthcare system, CON continues to come under attack, largely by out-of-state corporate chains whose priorities place financial gain before patient care.

At least five legislative proposals were brought forth during this year’s session of the General Assembly that sought to weaken or repeal the CON laws that protect our healthcare system. Since that time, the Georgia Department of Community Health  has considered an additional proposal, but voted to retain the current rules.

Many of the arguments for repealing or weakening CON hinge on the idea that more facilities, offering limited services, will enhance patient choice. But experience proves that these new facilities often choose to offer only the most-lucrative procedures, to the most well-insured patients. This occurs at the expense of existing hospitals, which then lose the benefit of offering profitable services that help cover the cost of much-needed but costly services, such as emergency rooms and trauma centers.

Healthcare markets are different from most “free” markets for goods and services. Consumers often do not understand the true costs of care, nor do they have sufficient information to compare services by different providers or in different facilities.

Simply having more facilities does not equate to greater access for patients. As existing hospitals are weakened financially, sometimes closing as a result, patient choice is actually reduced, while unneeded facilities proliferate in lucrative markets.

Expert testimony recently commissioned by the Georgia Attorney General’s office demonstrated that CON programs can reduce healthcare costs, improve the quality of healthcare services, and expand access to care.  Conversely, if existing hospitals are weakened financially, sometimes closing as a result, patient choice is ultimately reduced.

Georgia’s hospital system faces serious challenges, from the rise of opioid overdose clusters and spread of infectious diseases like the Zika virus, to the political and financial challenges emanating from Washington, DC.  Preserving and strengthening our front line of healthcare response is vital not only to our health, but to our continuing prosperity as a state. The time could not be worse for weakening protections for our hospital system, which would come at the unquestionable risk of reducing access to healthcare and emergency services.

Monty Veazey is President of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, a statewide organization of not-for-profit hospitals. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1977 to 1983.

Lt. Governor Cagle to Host Health Care Reform Task Force Meeting

State & National

ATLANTA, June 30, 2017 – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, along with Sens. Renee Unterman, Dean Burke, Chuck Hufstetler, Ben Watson, Kay Kirkpatrick, Jack Hill and Doc Rhett, will hold a meeting of Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force at Tift Regional Medical Center on MONDAY, July 10, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Members will discuss innovative reforms to advance Georgia as a national leader in delivering patient-centered health care.

The Task Force will be hear presentations from representatives of Tift Regional Medical Center, Emory University, and Dr. Keith J. Mueller, Interim Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.

Who:                     Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

What:                    Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force Meeting

When:                  Monday, July 10th at 10:00 a.m.

Where:                Tift Regional Medical Center
901 18th St. Tifton, GA 31794


Sen. David Lucas to Host Second Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting

State & National


Contact: Ines Owens, Director
Elisabeth Fletcher, Communications Specialist

Sen. David Lucas to Host Second Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting

ATLANTA (August 7, 2017) | Sen. David Lucas (D – Macon) will hold a two-day Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting to discuss broadband, healthcare, telecommunications and developing tourism TOMORROW from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and WEDNESDAY from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. The meeting will be held at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.

WHO: Sen. David Lucas and Rural Georgia Study Committee Members

WHAT: Two-day Rural Georgia Study Committee Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, August 8, 2017
               9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
               Wednesday, August 9, 2017
               9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

WHERE: University of North Georgia
Continuing Education Center in Dahlonega
25 Schultz Avenue
Dahlonega, GA 30597


Sen. David Lucas, Sr. represents the 26th Senate District, which includes portions of Bibb, Houston and Jones Counties and all of Hancock, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson Counties. He may be reached at 404.656.5035 or by email

Piedmont Announces ER Opening Day


Piedmont has recently made a press release announcing their April 3 opening date.

After numerous delays and obstacles Piedmont is ready to open its doors for Gilmer County care. Along with their announcement, Piedmont offered the following release.

Piedmont Mountainside Hospital today announced the opening of Georgia’s first freestanding emergency room. The ER opens on April 3 in a space previously occupied by North Georgia Medical Center, which closed in June 2016 due to financial hardships.

“It is imperative patients have access to emergency care, especially for life-threatening conditions like heart attack or stroke where every minute matters,” Denise Ray, CEO of Piedmont Mountainside, said. “That’s why this agreement is so important for the community. With the nearest hospital 20-30 minutes away, the health and well-being of many depend on it.”

The freestanding ER, publicly known as Piedmont Mountainside Emergency Services at Ellijay, will house emergent medical equipment, including a 64 Slice-CT scanner, X-ray, and pharmacy and laboratory equipment. Piedmont Mountainside has hired an additional 35 employees to support the location, including nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and radiology and lab technicians.

“Without a nearby hospital, Gilmer County residents were left completely without immediate medical care,” added Ray. “As a community-focused hospital, Piedmont Mountainside recognized their immediate need and acted. We are proud to expand our services in Gilmer County and will strive to deliver the same level of patient-centered care expected of the Piedmont name.”

Freestanding emergency departments operate as an extension of an ER in a hospital, providing 24-hour access to emergency physicians, nurses, labs and radiology technicians. They offer similar services as emergency rooms attached to the hospital, like moderate-complexity blood testing and advanced imaging, and they care for most emergent illnesses (heart attack, stroke and minor trauma).

Patients requiring admission or transfer will follow the same process as they would if they were entering Piedmont Mountainside Hospital’s emergency room in Jasper. For more information, visit

Looking to the Future with Piedmont’s ER


As we wrap up this series delving into the Piedmont’s Stand-Alone Emergency Department (ED), we look to whats to come for the facility.

In the 2016 fiscal year, Piedmont Mountainside, in Jasper, saw 27% of its total patient population come from Gilmer County. Currently they estimate 32% of the ED visits or approximately 25 patients per day come from Gilmer County. As Gilmer’s need for care is continuing and increasing, many citizens are not only looking for the new ED to open, but also want to know how Piedmont plans to grow into the future for Gilmer County.

During their ribbon cutting ceremony, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston mentioned the possibility of two additional rooms in the Emergency Department for “Acute Care.”

Denise RayAcute Care, according to Denise Ray, CEO, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, means “immediate but short-term treatment for injury, illness or urgent medical condition.” As the ED begins caring for Gilmer Citizens, they are considering the beds as options to increase quality through extended care for issues like dehydration, congestive heart failure (CHF), or exacerbation of chronic conditions. Where as these conditions would usually require transferring a patient to a hospital, Acute Care Rooms would keep them local as they are treated and released.

While Ray did say staffing would be very similar to the ED, they would require additional space in the old hospital. She did say they are currently looking at possible spaces, but did not offer a specific timeline on when Gilmer may look for this addition saying, “We are currently focused on opening the freestanding ED and concentrating on servicing the community to that capacity.”

As a part of opening the freestanding ED, Piedmont will become very close neighbors to the Gilmer County Nursing Home, a relationship that Gilmer citizens have enjoyed as emergency care for these residents is simply a wheelchair ride away instead of an Ambulance ride. Should a Nursing Home Resident require care, the staff would call ahead to notify the ER and utilize either a wheelchair or stretcher to transport the patient.

Hoping to build on the relationship, Ray told FYN having the nursing home on the back side of the facility would not change or affect the ED as it is well prepared for any emergency or condition that enters their facility, be it from the Nursing Home, any of Gilmer’s increased population over 65, or any other issue or emergent condition the County would bring in.

Additionally, Ray commented on Piedmont’s continuing programs for people age 60+ that will be held in Gilmer and Pickens Counties including Home Health visits, participation in local Alzheimer’s Association support group providing education on dementia, and education on Advance Directive’s to local Senior Centers in Jasper and Ellijay.

As Piedmont continues down its path for the Stand-Alone Emergency Department, citizens are waiting to see promises filled and care returned to the county. Plans and hopes for the future will all become possible as soon as the final inspections and paperwork are completed and Piedmont officially opens their new facility in Gilmer County.

Behind the Doors at Piedmont’s Emergency Department


With Piedmont’s recent ribbon cutting ceremony, FYN delved behind the scenes to take a closer look at some of Piedmont’s equipment and changes to the facilities as they move closer to opening their doors to the public.

ParisDuring their Ribbon Cutting, Piedmont was welcomed into Gilmer County by Commission Chairman Charlie Paris stating, “We’re very thankful to have an ER coming into Gilmer County. In addition to health care considerations, there are a lot of cost savings that will apply…”

One of the biggest upgrades that Piedmont Mountainside CEO, Denise Ray mentioned during the ceremony was a 64-slice CT Scanner with a Double Injector function. This device replaces an CT Scanolder 16-slice scanner allowing for far better detail in the scans. The Double Injector is used during things like PE (Pulmonary Embolism) Studies. Nestor walked us through the aid this provides as the contrast dye is injected into patients needs to be immediately flushed.

The double injector allows the flush without requiring technicians to re-enter the room and provide the flush themselves. The upgrade from 16 to 64-slice also improves speed of the scan translating to patients as less time on the table.

XRayPiedmont is also currently using a portable X-Ray machine in addition to its normal machine. This device can be moved into a patient’s ER room to take an x-ray and utilize that mobility to expedite care to its emergency patients. While Ike Ichite, Director of Imaging, stated the portable x-ray aids greatly in emergency care situations, he is still looking forward to a digital upgrade expected to come early next year. The digital upgrade would allow Doctor’s to quickly view the x-ray results bypassing to time to process the shots in radiology and being instantly accessed on screen of the machine.

The full digital images would also greatly increase image quality according to Jennifer Nestor. Having images of high quality instantly available will even further help doctors immediately respond to issues they find through the x-rays.

Also utilized at the local Emergency Department (ED) is the Ultrasound study. Usually utilized in blood studies such as DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), blood clot, or gall bladder issues. This device rounds out the “big three” devices used in Piedmont’s ED.

As the new Emergency Department draws closer to opening its doors, greater attention is drawn daily as Ray even commented an expectation that all of Georgia will be focusing on Gilmer County to see if free-standing ER’s could be a solution to Georgia’s rural hospital problems.

RalstonState Speaker David Ralston, in attendance at the Ribbon Cutting, spoke on that subject saying, “The whole issue of Healthcare, particularly in rural Georgia, is very challenging. Over the last three or four years, we’ve had about fifteen or sixteen rural hospitals close in Georgia.”

Ralston jokingly continued saying, “I’ve been able to brag over the last month or two that I’ve got the only one that re-opened.”

However, that was not the only message Speaker Ralston brought to Gilmer County. Thanking the local community for their support in the transition and renovations to the ED, he said, “This whole fear of the clock, the Certificate of Need and the license that was going to expire, is over. It is over, that clock has been turned off.”

The central focus of that fear has been maintaining healthcare in Gilmer County indefinitely.

Piedmont is reinforcing its ED health care with additional support throughout Gilmer County through Medical Offices, local Doctors, as well as an imaging center and local lab, for blood draws and other outpatient studies, located in the Piedmont offices behind Wal-Mart.

These supporting offices will be connected to the ED through Piedmont’s Epic System. This integrated records network will allow for all admissions and care at the Emergency Room to be instantly accessible by Piedmont’s local Doctors as well as vice versa for Emergency Care Physicians to have instant access to the records of Piedmont Doctor’s patients for pertinent information such as drug allergies.

However, Piedmont did say that other Doctors will be able to tie into the Epic System as well. While Emergency Departments can access a Doctor’s Patient files through requests, the Epic System will provide instantaneous access to those reports and files providing an expedited process.

GoochThis Epic System will effectively connect the Piedmont “Community of Healthcare” that seems to have been growing in Gilmer County over the last year. State Senator Steve Gooch stressed the importance of healthcare and its growth in community when he said, “It is very important, not only for our health care, but for our economic development, our communities, and our children… We’re grateful to Piedmont for all their investments, millions of dollars that they’ve spent here in Gilmer County.”

Piedmont is also planning to continue their training and classes they offer through Piedmont Mountainside and are expecting to grow this effort through its growth into Gilmer County. Stay with FYN as we continue our series on Piedmont Healthcare and look deeper at some of their plans for Community Growth through classes, internships, training, participation with local entities, and even their hope for the future in the possibility of two acute-care rooms in the Emergency Department.

Piedmont Holds Ribbon Cutting Prior to Opening


As the Piedmont Stand-Alone Emergency Department enters the final stages of preparation and inspections, they held a celebration with local and state officials to honor the occasion.

Construction is complete and renovations are over, the near $2 million project is now awaiting final inspections and approval of the actual ED (Emergency Department) itself. Upon completion of those, Piedmont will be officially declaring its opening date.

The Ribbon Cutting ceremony was attended by not only local officials like Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Post Commissioner and Greater Gilmer JDA (Joint Development Authority) Chairman Travis Crouch, and Director of Public Safety Tony Pritchett, but also state officials State Senator Steve Gooch and House Speaker David Ralston.

Group Photo

Piedmont is also already looking to the future of the Emergency Department with suggestions of providing an upgrade to digital for the X-Ray machines in 2018 as well as integration into its Epic System for the local Piedmont Healthcare Offices in Gilmer County that citizens have seen on Industrial Boulevard and on Eller Road behind Walmart in East Ellijay.

This Epic System is an integrated records network that will allow for all admissions and care at the Emergency Room to be instantly accessible by Piedmont’s local Doctors as well as vice versa for Emergency Care Physicians to have instant access to the records of Piedmont Doctor’s patients for pertinent information such as Drug Allergies.

Stay tuned to FYN in the coming days as we delve deeper into the Emergency Department including a look behind the scenes at some of new changes Piedmont is bringing to Gilmer County’s Emergency Care as well as a closer look at the equipment and Epic System.

Meanwhile, check in with the Gilmer Chamber below to watch the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

JDA Listens to Projects and Healthcare Possibilities


The Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority did not change officers during its first 2017 meeting retaining Travis Crouch as Chair and Lex Rainey as Vice Chair for the year as well as Gilmer Chamber Director Paige Green as Secretary/Treasurer.

The February Meeting was the first of the four quarterly meetings for 2017, and Executive Director Debbie Sadler reported updates for five current projects underway. One of which, referred to as Project FW could see foreign investments looking for a North Georgia possibility.

While most of the projects reports were kept secret in favor of investors anonymity and project security, including the potential of 16,000 square feet being looked at by the State of Georgia, one project that Sadler did open up with, Project Open World will see visitors from the Republic of Georgia on April 6th.

Gilmer County will be among several stops for the Representatives including three other counties and a visit to Atlanta, Ga according to Sadler. In addition to a presentation, lunch, and industry and business tours, she hopes to treat the visiting guests to a more hometown feel of our local agriculture as it is “first in driving Georgia’s economy.”

The JDA’s executive director is also being proactive in project research as she gave a report from a visit with Patriot Rail’s representative to discuss Gilmer County’s railways. During her report, Sadler stated that Patriot Rail gave a 45-day estimate to repair the railways in the county. However, this is simply a preemptive estimate to see what could be accomplished. If an interested entity would want to build in Ellijay, “there would have to be a company with enough shipments going by rail in order for Patriot Rail to consider renovating our current rails so they could connect heading to Atlanta.”

As the meeting moved into the Citizens Wishing to Speak section, The JDA heard local Ruth Caudell asking them to check for local possibilities for a walk-in clinic. Though she was assured they were continuing to look at options, Caudell asked the Board to “Please, don’t give up.”

Caudell further asked the Board to harbor cooperation and community with incoming Piedmont Healthcare’s Emergency Room. Secretary Paige Green did say that conversations with Piedmont have tended to show Piedmont invested in the area and the ER’s plan.

While citizens continue to worry about the county’s healthcare future, Piedmont has set a ribbon cutting date. The event will be held March 10 from 4:00-5:00p. While many echo Caudell’s comments of hope in the ER’s potential, it would seem that now it is Piedmont who needs to earn the trust of the citizens, the local government, and the businesses within Gilmer County.


Be sure to check below for the Board’s approved financials as well as their 2017 Budget:

Piedmont ER Diagnosed with Delays


With the official statement being, “due to unforeseen developments, the official opening has been delayed until later in the month,” Piedmont’s Emergency Room will not see it’s February 1st opening date.

While Denise Ray, CEO, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital stated that they have completed everything necessary to open their emergency room, they are awaiting a few inspections and filing approvals to finalize the project.

Specifically, Ray referred to “CMS-855 and State Lab Inspections”as the main hold ups.

Several inspections have already been completed on the hospital including the DEA and State Fire Marshalls. The ER has already received its Certificate of Occupancy on January 6th. However, the delays could see the ER not opening until the later part of February.

When it does open, FYN has been informed that almost any emergency service that could be handled in their Mountainside location will be able to be handled in their new emergency room. They have already attained equipment to support their plans for “a 64 Slice-CT scanner, X-ray, pharmacy and laboratory” located on premises according to Ray who says all the equipment is being tested for use.

Additionally, the staff to be used will incorporate the same Team Health service that provide physicians for Piedmont Mountainside. Ray said,

“We have carefully coordinated details with Team Health, our current provider of ER physicians, to ensure that there will be no scheduling conflicts. We have also hired more than 22 additional staff, including nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, radiology and lab technicians and more to support this location. A large number of existing employees will also be rotating between Piedmont’s other locations to provide the appropriate compliment of staff to care for our patients.”

Of course, with the free-standing Emergency Department, any patients requiring hospitalization would be transferred. However, Piedmont has assured FYN that admissions and transfers would follow “the same process as they would if they were entering Piedmont Mountainside Hospital’s emergency room in Jasper.”

Piedmont Emergency Room Delays?


As citizens continue questioning ideas and plans for Gilmer’s future for a hospital, many have stopped questioning how to get a full hospital and are simply asking where the emergency room is?

FYN inquired with Piedmont Hospital about delays in the development and opening of their “Stand-Alone Emergency Room” in Gilmer County. Receiving an official statement, Piedmont responded by saying,

“In October, Piedmont Healthcare and SunLink Health System finalized a lease agreement that will allow Piedmont Mountainside to provide a free-standing Emergency Department in Ellijay. This would reopen the North Georgia Medical Center’s Emergency Department location, which was closed on March 1 by SunLink. Opposition to Piedmont Healthcare’s request to the State, which has now been resolved, delayed progress toward reopening the facility. Demolition is underway to prepare for renovations necessary to provide high-quality, patient-centered services for the Gilmer County community. The anticipated open date is mid-January.”

While many local authorities still harbor concern over the issue, many have resolved themselves to the Emergency Room option after the long battle for opposition. Additionally, Citizens, it seems, are also still holding reservations to see if the Emergency Room Project will last.

SunLink May Sell Office Buildings


According to a Press Release from SunLink Health Systems, Inc, the company “announced that a subsidiary has reached agreement to sell its medical office building complex, comprised of land and three buildings in Ellijay, GA for approximately $4,900,000.”

20161121_152322According to sources, the buildings involved are likely to be the three buildings located on Industrial Boulevard across from the Bank of the Ozarks Building. While FYN has reached out to Piedmont for questions of their involvement, no confirmation has been made. However, as you pass the offices, you will notice large signs bearing the Piedmont Healthcare name and offering career opportunities.

20161121_152243That Press Release also states SunLink expects “a pre-tax gain on the sale of approximately $2,400,000. The transaction is subject to buyer due diligence and other conditions and is anticipated to close in December 2016. After repayment of mortgage debt and expenses of approximately $2,300,000, the company expects net proceeds from the sale of approximately $2,600,000. The proceeds will be retained for working capital and general corporate purposes.”

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