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. 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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