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Statement from the Board of Directors, Union General, Inc.

For Immediate Release:                                       February 4, 2016

Statement from the Board of Directors, Union General, Inc.

(Blairsville, GA)  The Board of Directors for Union General Hospital (Union General, Inc.) voted unanimously today to install Lewis Kelley as the Interim CEO of the hospital. Mr. Kelley has served as a previous Administrator at Chatuge Regional Hospital and has extensive experience with both Union General and Chatuge Regional Hospital.

Union General Hospital, the largest private employer in Union County, will continue operations as normal, despite a week of surprising events. 

The board vote came during a called emergency meeting following the arrest of the hospital CEO, Mike Gowder, and area physician Dr. Jim Heaton, who is also a member of the hospital’s board of directors. 

Union County Sheriff Mack Mason and the Office of Sheriff made the arrests after obtaining
warrants.  Bond has not been set, arraignment is expected sometime early next week.

The Gowder brothers are longtime community leaders and their family was instrumental in the founding and growth of Union General Hospital.  Dr. Jim Heaton is a recent addition to the hospital board, but a longtime area family practitioner, with 29 years practicing medicine.

Details on what appears to be a multi-state investigation are not being released at this time. 
Union General Hospital, its staff and operating subsidiaries will all cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation.

“Union General, Inc. is placing CEO Mike Gowder on paid Administrative Leave, pending the
results of an internal review and investigation, including the review and consideration of the law enforcement activities," said Jim Williams, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Union General, Inc.


Media contacts: Bill Crane, CSI Crane,, 404-964-5609, Michele Madison,, 404-233-7000

Union General Hospital: Union General Hospital, a modern 45-bed and award winning facility, owns and operates a wide array of subsidiary health care entities and employs more than 900 in Blairsville and nearby Hiawassee, Georgia.  These other operations include:  Union County Nursing Home, Union General Wellness Center, Union County Dialysis Center, Chatuge Regional Hospital, Chatuge Regional Nursing Home, Glenda Gooch House, Blue Mountain Family Practice, Hayesville Family Practice and the Clinic at Walmart in Blairsville.