Financially ailing Southern Regional Medical Center has entered into a partnership with Emory Healthcare. The partnership, effective Oct. 1, involves integrated Southern Regional in to Emory Healthcare's network of four hospitals. Southern Regional will pay Emory an undisclosed management fee. Faced with a bleeding balance sheet, Southern Regional said last summer it is considering strategic options that could include a joint venture, or a sale. The health system operates the 331-bed Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverside, Ga. For Emory, the deal would give the health system a foothold in the southern part of metro Atlanta. It would also give Emory an edge over its fiercest rival, Piedmont Healthcare, which is a major health-care provider in Clayton County.