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Press Release

Media Contact: Cheryl Monkhouse
(404) 842-8516

Hamilton Health Care System and Physician Health Services Announce Agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia

ATLANTA  – September 23, 2011 – Hamilton Health Care System, Inc. (HHCS), Physicians Health Services (PHS) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. (BCBSGa) and Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. together announce an agreement which enables HHCS and PHS to join BCBSGa’s HMO/POS, Open Access and PPO networks, effective November 1, 2011.

These new contracts mean that BCBSGa members will have complete access to all HHCS’s and PHS’ full range of acute care, emergency, diagnostic and surgical services as in-network providers.

“I am very pleased that the completion of this agreement expands choices to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia members who live or work in Whitfield and Murray Counties,” said Jeff Myers, CEO, Hamilton Health Care System.  “It is Hamilton’s goal for every resident in our service area to have access to our high quality health care services.”

“PHS is pleased that this agreement will make things easier for area residents covered under BCBSGa by allowing access to high quality local physicians and health care services,” said PHS president, Mathew Smith, MD.
"All parties have worked closely and collaboratively throughout the negotiation process, and we are pleased to welcome these hospitals and physicians to the BCBSGa HMO/POS, Open Access and PPO networks," said Alexandra Leopold, regional vice-president of provider contract and engagement, BCBSGa. "With the addition of these physicians and hospitals, our members in the Dalton and Chatsworth communities now have greater in-network access to quality medical care."

BCBSGa will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012, and is the oldest and largest health plan in the State of Georgia, currently serving approximately 2.8 million lives. BCBSGa offers a variety of healthcare plans, including medical, dental, life and disability, and specialty programs.

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About Hamilton Health Care System
Hamilton Health Care System is a comprehensive, nonprofit health care system that serves as the parent corporation for ten affiliate organizations. For more information on HHCS visit HHCS affiliates include:

Hamilton Medical Center - a 282-bed regional acute-care hospital that offers major medical, surgical and diagnostic services, including accredited stroke and chest pain centers. Included under Hamilton Medical Center are the Bradley Wellness Center, Hamilton Specialty Care, Hamilton Home Health and Hamilton Hospice. Among many other awards, Hamilton Medical Center was named a 2011 Hospital of Distinction by HealthGrades.

Hamilton Ambulatory Surgery Center - a same-day surgery facility with preoperative services, four operating suites and recovery. The Center offers the latest surgical technology, expert staff and award-winning customer service under the management of Hamilton Surgeons’ Management Company. HASC recently received Press Ganey’s prestigious ‘Summit Award’ for service excellence for the fifth consecutive year.

Hamilton Physician Group - a quality care focused, financially viable partnership between physicians and Hamilton Medical Center for the betterment of the health of our community.

Whitfield Healthcare Foundation  - a philanthropic organization with a mission to encourage charitable gifts that support and advance the quality of health care provided by Hamilton Medical Center. Contributed gifts are allocated to enhance patient care, promote health education and improve the quality of life in the region.

Murray Medical Center - a 42-bed acute care hospital owned by Murray County Hospital Authority and operated by Murray Medical Center, Inc. to serve its residents. Murray Medical Center also contracts with Murray County to provide ambulance service for its communities.
Hamilton Emergency Medical Services - operates through a contract with Whitfield County to manage emergency rescue services. Hamilton EMS is designated by the State of Georgia as an Advanced Cardiac Life Support service.

Royal Oaks - a continuing care retirement community which offers residential living apartments that appeal to seniors seeking an active social environment with a quality, maintenance-free lifestyle. The Gardens at Royal Oaks provides apartments for persons seeking assisted living services.
HLTC provides access to long-term care services. HLTC owns Regency Park, Ridgewood Manor, Quinton Memorial and Wood Dale Health and Rehabilitation skilled nursing centers.

Dalton Senior Housing - dba Whitfield Commons, with 40 apartment homes is operated exclusively to provide seniors and handicapped persons on lower fixed incomes with housing facilities.

Whitfield Place operates 48 apartment homes. Like Whitfield Commons, Whitfield Place is operated exclusively to provide seniors and handicapped persons on lower fixed incomes with housing facilities.

About Physician Health Services
Physician Health Services is an Independent Physician Association consisting of approximately 195 physicians representing multiple specialties.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association®. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at Also, follow us on Twitter at, on Facebook at, visit our YouTube channel at or check out the Our Health Connects Us campaign site at

Media Contacts: 
Hamilton Health Care System - Daryl Cole, 706-272-6168

Physician Health Services - Mathew Smith, MD, 706-278-4640;
OR David McCreery, 706-226-3704

BCBSGa, Cheryl Monkhouse, 404-842-8516,,