11 selected to review bids for Columbia County hospital



The 11 people who will serve on a citizen’s committee to evaluate bids to build a hospital in Columbia County were made public Tuesday.

Among those selected by Columbia County commissioners are a former commission chairman and state senator, a former newspaper publisher, two physicians and a few bank executives.

The committee will reviewing proposals submitted by Doctors Hospital, Georgia Regents Health System and University Hospital to build at least a 100-bed hospital with a trauma unit. University has proposed a 100-bed hospital that would cost between $130 million and $140 million; Doctors, a $150 million, 108-bed hospital and a medical office building; and Georgia Regents, a $280 million to $310 million health campus that would include a 144-bed hospital.

Commission Chairman Ron Cross said each will have the opportunity to make a presentation to the committee and answer questions about their proposals.

“Hopefully, we can encourage them to complete their work in a 30-day timeframe,” Cross said.

After a proposal is selected, county officials will work with the selected partner on crafting and submitting a proposal to the state for a certificate of need, which is required to build a hospital in Georgia.

That certificate of need has been an insurmountable hurdle so far because of the proximity of a large number of beds in hospitals in Augusta. Past efforts to gain the required certificate have failed.

This time, however, officials are trying a new tactic. The county hopes to exploit one of three untested exceptions to the need standard: that the new facility is part of an existing teaching hospital; it is part of an existing trauma center; or the county is paying 20 percent of the cost of construction.

Staff writer Tom Corwin contributed to this article.

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PIERCE BLANCHARD: Executive vice president, Georgia Bank & Trust

SANDRA CARRAWAY: Columbia County schools superintendent

RICK CRAWFORD: Executive with Security Federal Bank; chairman of the county Convention and Visitors Bureau

ZACH DAFFIN: Vice president, Georgia Bank & Trust; former director of the Columbia County Development Authority

BARRY PASCHAL: Senior director of marketing and communications with Goodwill Industries; former publisher of Columbia County News-Times

DR. LESLIE POLLARD: Physician with Centers for Primary Care, Evans

TOM SCHNEIDER: Former Gold Cross EMS CEO and director of government affairs

DR. S. ALLAN STOCKS: Retired ophthalmologist and co-founder of Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Augusta

DON THORNHILL: Retired Columbia County schools associate superintendent

PAM TUCKER: Director of Columbia County Emergency and Operations Division

JIM WHITEHEAD: Former Columbia County commission chairman and state senator