April 16, 2024

Residents in Dahlonega, Dawsonville and surrounding communities have a new hospital for emergency and inpatient care – and can now have surgery close to home, too. The new Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Lumpkin hospital treated its first patients early this morning.

The first patient arrived in the emergency department at 7:18 this morning. Heather Hughes, of Dahlonega, was treated by emergency medicine physician Kristin Halligan, MD, for an ear complaint. Hughes was released around 7:40 a.m.

“I’m so proud to start this new chapter for Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS),” said Kevin Matson, vice president of regional hospitals for NGHS. “Everything has gone smoothly today, all because so many people have been planning for this for years. Now, I’m looking forward to our first surgery scheduled for Thursday.”

NGHS moved NGMC Lumpkin from the old Chestatee Regional Hospital building on Mountain Drive to its new home along Georgia 400, just south of Highway 60, which is easier to access. The single-story, 66,000-square-foot building is located at 495 GA-400 in Dahlonega. Services include 24/7 emergency care, advanced surgery, inpatient care and on-site imaging, lab and pharmacy support.

Surgeons with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group will provide orthopedic surgery at NGMC Lumpkin starting this week. In the following months, the types of surgery offered will expand to include gynecologic and general surgery as well.

It’s estimated that more than 1,500 people attended a grand opening celebration at the new hospital on Saturday, April 13. The emergency department, inpatient rooms, operating rooms, procedural suite, Jackson EMC Community Room, Marie Webb Faulkner Memorial Chapel, café and dining area were open for tours.

“The response to the grand opening was overwhelmingly positive and far exceeded the number of people we expected, which we know led to some challenges with parking and concessions,” Matson said. “We take that as a sign of how much our services are needed in this community, and we look forward to caring for anyone who comes through our doors.”

After being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, NGMC Lumpkin was built on 53 acres, which includes plenty of space for future expansion to grow along with the surrounding population

“We couldn’t be more excited to have this hospital complete,” said Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS. “We have dreamed of a brand-new hospital here to serve this beautiful community for so long, and I hope people will agree it was worth the wait.”

The NGMC Lumpkin campus backs up to the Chestatee River, and that tie to nature has been incorporated inside the hospital, thanks to the work of three local artists: Lily Payne, an open impressionism landscape artist based in Dahlonega; Deb Nadelhoffer, a landscape artist from Dawsonville; and Anna Elrod, a potter from Dahlonega. Their art was selected to be featured near the hospital’s main entrance, bringing the spirit of the surrounding landscape indoors.

“Of all the great things I’ve been blessed to participate in through serving in an elected office, I may be most proud of the group that came together to save health care in Lumpkin County – including Northeast Georgia Health System,” said Sen. Steve Gooch, who spoke during the grand opening celebration. “I’m looking forward to seeing this campus continue to grow and be a beacon of hope and healing.”

To learn more or find a surgeon operating at NGMC Lumpkin, visit