Former Union General Hospital Officials Back in the News

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Blairsville, GA – John Michael Gowder, more commonly known as Mike Gowder, former Chief Executive Officer of Union General Hospital, Inc., which controlled the Union County entity known as Union General Hospital Authority, was indicted in both Union and Towns Counties on multiple counts of Fraud in Obtaining Controlled Substances (O.C.G.A. 16-13-43(a)(3)) and Violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act (O.C.G.A. 16-13-30(a)). Gowder was indicted in Towns County in July 5, 2017 on 32 counts and in Union County on July 7, 2017 on 4 counts. Gowder’s associate, former Board Member of Union General Hospital, Inc., Dr. James Lanier Heaton, was indicted in Union County on July 7, 2017 on 44 counts in connection with this case. Due to the large amount of indictments being processed in the Union County Clerk of Superior Court Office, Fetch Your News was not able to obtain hard copies of the Union County indictments on Gowder and Heaton; therefore, we are not yet privy to the substance of the violations they were indicted for in Union County. However, we will update this story with the particulars of the indictments as soon as they are available.

Dr. James Lanier Heaton, age 60.

Dr. George David Gowder III, age 59

Gowder’s brother, George David Gowder III, and his niece, Jamie Lee Harkins, were both indicted April 20, 2017 on 66 counts in connection with this Union General Hospital scandal (see May 1, 2017 FYN article).

Jamie Lee Harkins, age 36

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Dr. George David Gowder, Jamie Lee Harkins co-defendants in Union County 70 count indictment

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Dr. George David Gowder, age 60, an emergency room doctor and graduate of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, had approximately 36 years of experience when he was arrested in 2016. Dr. Gowder was a Board Member on the Union General Hospital Authority (UGHA) Board and the Board of Union General Hospital, Inc., which controlled UGHA. Somewhere along the line, Dr. Gowder got way off track and became ensconced in a nasty business. It appears that other Union General Hospital Board Members and some Gowder family members are involved as well; they have been arrested, but not yet indicted.

Gail Nicholson Gowder, age 59

Gail Nicholson Gowder, age 59

Virginia Lou Harkins, age 61

Virginia Lou Harkins, age 61

Dr. James Lanier Heaton, age 60.

Dr. James Lanier Heaton, age 60.

John Michael Gowder, age 59.

John Michael Gowder, age 59.

Dr. George David Gowder was indicted by a Union County Grand Jury on Thursday, April 20, 2017 on 54 counts of Fraud in Obtaining Controlled Substance (Hydrocodone, Oxycodone), seven counts of Unauthorized Distributions and Dispensation (Hydrocodone), four counts of Forgery in the First Degree (forging the name of another doctor on prescriptions for Oxycodone), and one count of Violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act (possession of controlled substance [Hydrocodone] with intent to distribute).

36 year old Jamie Lee Harkins, co-defendant in this case, was indicted on two counts of Fraud in Obtaining Controlled Substance (presenting prescriptions in another person’s name) and two counts of Violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act (unlawful possession of a controlled substance [Oxycodone]). Jamie Lee Harkins is the daughter of Virginia Lou Harkins, who is the sister of Dr. George David Gowder.

Jamie Lee Harkins

Jamie Lee Harkins, age 36

Fetch Your News is following this story and will report updates as they become available.

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Dr. David Gowder indicted on at least 66 counts

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Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jeff Langley

Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jeff Langley

Dr. David Gowder, former Board Member of Union General Hospital Authority and Board Member of Union General Hospital, Inc., was indicted by a Union County Grand Jury on Thursday and Friday on 66 counts including improerly prescribing medications and 4 counts of forging another doctor’s name on a prescription, according to a phone interview with Enotah District Attorney Jeff Langley late Friday afternoon. Langley said Jamie Lee Harkins is a co-defendant in the case. Harkins is believed to be Dr. Gowder’s niece and was indicted on four counts of retrieving medications under another person’s name. Dr. Gowder was indicted last year in Fannin County, GA on similar charges.

Mike Gowder, a dentist at one time, and former President of Union General Hospital and Dr. James Heaton, former CEO of Union General Hospital, Inc., have been arrested, but not yet indicted in Union County in connection with this case.

Gail Nicholson Gowder, wife of Mike Gowder, and Virginia Lou Harkins, Dr. Gowder’s sister, and, mother of Jamie Lee Harkins, have also been arrested but not indicted in Union County in connection with this case.

It appears that Dr. Gowder and the Board of Union General Hospital Authority formed Union General Hospital, Inc. which leased Union General Hospital Authority for 40 years, which gave them control of the hospital with little or no public oversight.

Fetch Your News will have more on this story as it unfolds.

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