Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Thanks to a $100,000 gift from a group of active and retired physicians, Good News Clinics (GNC) is one step closer to integrating technology that will help improve patient care. This group of physicians forms the James H. Downey Society, a part of the Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) Foundation, and is dedicated to improving health locally through philanthropic efforts.

In October of 2017, NGHS installed Epic as its electronic health record, connecting patients and healthcare providers to medical records in a way that allows for easy access and collaboration with fewer barriers and inefficiencies. GNC’s transition to Epic will replace GNC’s antiquated process of faxing physician orders and medical histories with electronic communications that will allow community partners easy access to a patient’s record.

“We are so thankful for all of our generous physicians who not only give their time to care for our patients, but also their resources,” said Liz Coates, executive director of GNC. “This gift is huge for GNC, as we have a great need for this technology to improve efficiency. I know there is still more money to raise, and we are grateful for the NGHS Foundation’s commitment to bring us this technology that will improve the clinic experience for everyone at GNC.”

Established in 1992, GNC serves a critical role in the continuum of health care by providing medical and dental care to uninsured residents of Hall County who have a family income within 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

“Implementing Epic will allow each patient to have one chart that will follow the patient throughout their care,” said Antonio Rios, MD, chief physician executive for Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, Downey Society member and GNC physician volunteer. “It doesn’t matter if the patient is in the hospital, the Emergency Department or a clinic – all clinicians will be able to see the same information.”

The cost of the collaborative project between NGHS and GNC is in excess of $1 million and will be 100 percent funded through the philanthropic efforts of the NGHS Foundation.

“The members of the Downey Society are passionate about healthcare excellence and making a difference in the lives of others,” said Chris Bray, president and chief development officer for the NGHS Foundation. “We are so thankful these physicians are leading by example and motivating others to give to this important community project. Everywhere they give their time and resources, it is evident that they are deeply dedicated and invested in a way that drives our mission and makes our community a better place.”

Gifts to the NGHS Foundation support community health initiatives and allow NGHS to provide the latest medical treatments and end-of-life care, as well as support access to care for all patients – regardless of their ability to pay. In order to complete the technology project at GNC, the NGHS Foundation is working to raise an additional $400,000.

To donate or learn more about the NGHS Foundation, visit