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History of EMory Hillandale


  • DeKalb County voters approve a $1.95 million bond referendum to help fund a hospital in South DeKalb.


  • A four-phase concept is developed and approved for bringing medical services to South DeKalb. The four phases include an outpatient diagnostic center/medical office building, expanded outpatient services and additional medical office space, an inpatient facility and a continuing-care retirement facility.


  • DeKalb Medical acquires the Hillandale property.
  • DeKalb Medical administrators spend the next 10 years consumed by several rounds of legal opinions, position papers, feasibility studies and moratoriums to prove the need for new hospital beds—not only in the Atlanta community but across the entire state of Georgia.


  • DeKalb Medical submits a certificate-of-need (CON) application to the state for a 100-bed hospital called South DeKalb Hospital, to be located at 5900 Hillandale Drive. The CON seeks to transfer 100 beds from DeKalb General Hospital (the former name of DeKalb Medical) to the proposed South DeKalb Hospital.
  • Plans for South DeKalb Hospital are put on hold following the state’s denial of the CON. (According to the state, the area did not meet the state’s criteria for building a new hospital, due to the availability and accessibility of existing beds and the cost.)
  • DeKalb Medical regroups and moves forward with Phase I of the initial four-tiered approach, building a medical campus on Hillandale Drive.
  • The hospital opens its first urgent care center, Family Care-South DeKalb, at 6038 Covington Highway.


  • DeKalb Medical Hillandale opens on a 40-acre campus in Lithonia. The three-story facility features an outpatient diagnostic and treatment center with laboratory, imaging and rehabilitation services. Ten customized physician suites also are constructed, drawing much-needed doctors to the area.
  • The hospital establishes the South DeKalb Advisory Committee to advocate the community’s needs in the planning process. The group, consisting of well-known and respected community residents and leaders, begins meeting regularly.


  • Following the completion of a favorable feasibility study, DeKalb Medical submits a CON application to build an outpatient hospital in South DeKalb that will include an outpatient surgery center, observation beds and a 24-hour minor-emergency center.


  • The state approves the CON.
  • Hillandale’s second medical office building, which houses outpatient facilities, is completed.


  • The Minor Emergency Center and Outpatient Surgery Center open.
  • A CON application for a 100-bed hospital is submitted to the Division of Health Planning of the Department of Community Health (DCH) for review and approval.


  • DCH approves DeKalb Medical’s South DeKalb Medical application and denies a competing application for a new hospital to be built by Tenet.
  • DeKalb Medical holds a ceremonial “groundbreaking” for South DeKalb’s first full-service hospital, to be located on the Hillandale campus in Lithonia. (However, before construction could begin, the hospital would endure 15 months of extensive appeals by several competitors.)


  • DeKalb Medical clears its final regulatory hurdle. Construction of South DeKalb’s first full-service hospital officially begins.


  • DeKalb Medical celebrates the official “topping out” of the new hospital, indicating that the structure is now under roof.


  • The Imaging Center is the first department to open in the new hospital, offering outpatient diagnostic services only. Previously located in the adjacent 5900 Building, the Imaging Center move makes way for the construction of the new hospital Laboratory.
  • DeKalb Medical at Hillandale obtains its Certificate of Occupancy from the State Fire Marshal, signifying that the facility meets all building safety standards and is safe to occupy.


  • The road leading to the hospital main entrance is named Lou Walker Drive, in honor of the DeKalb County commissioner who, with his wife, Theresa, campaigned relentlessly for many years to help Hillandale become a reality.


  • The Gregory B. Levett, Sr. and Betty H. Levett Emergency Department Reception Area opens, thanks to a generous donation from Gregory B. Levett Sr. and Betty H. Levett, longtime supporters of DeKalb Medical.
  • The newly renovated chapel at DeKalb Medical Hillandale is rededicated as the Pike Chapel, thanks to a generous donation from William “Pete” and Geraldine “Jerri” Pike of the Pike Family Nurseries.


  • The fifth floor opens to accommodate rapid growth.
  • Bone densitometry is introduced.
  • Digital mammography is introduced.


  • Hospital starts fifth year with increasing patient satisfaction scores and a steadily increasing medical staff of primary care physicians and specialists.

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