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Doctors Hospital to appeal ER decision

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 2:22 PM
Last updated 9:48 PM
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Doctors Hospital will likely appeal the state’s decision to deny permission to build a free-standing emergency room in Columbia County.

Doctors CEO Doug Welch said that the decision to appeal has been made but that it probably won’t be filed until late this week or early next week. He declined to comment further until the appeal is filed.

Both Doctors and University Hospital were denied the required certificate of need to build separate, free-standing emergency departments in Evans. A University official has said it might also appeal the Jan. 25 decision but was skeptical about its prospects for success because the courts have sided with the Georgia Department of Community Health in such decisions in the past. Also, the state has never approved a free-standing ER, although states such as South Carolina do allow them.

Doctors had planned for a $9.8 million, 12-room center across from Marshall Square in Evans. University had plans for a $9.6 million, 18-bed facility on its Evans campus off North Belair Road not far from the proposed site for Doctors’ project. Because the two requests were filed within weeks of each and were close to each other, the state put the two together for consideration.

In rejecting both, the state determined that they had failed to demonstrate a need for either facility although Columbia County is the largest county in the state without an ER.

“No evidence, however, was provided to document that this population has limited access to emergency services,” the 22-page decision states. “The non-existence of an emergency service provider within Columbia County does not in and of itself render these services inaccessible to residents.”

The need for emergency services is met by existing providers, the state ruled.

Both Doctors and University had complained that their ER volumes are up and straining capacity and that it would be difficult to expand on their current campuses.

Doctors and University have 30 days after the decision to appeal.

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Darby 02/19/13 - 06:00 pm
Once again, bureaucracy rears it's ugly head.....

Why can't government functionaries stay the heck out of the way of free enterprise?

If the owners succeed, they've provided a needed service to the community. If they fail, then at least they've introduced some idle money into a stagnant economy, putting a lot of contractors and sub-contractors to work.

It's a win-win either way...

jeff scott
jeff scott 02/19/13 - 06:31 pm
South Carolina is not

South Carolina is not paralyzed in the same way that Georgia seems to be. The problem is only going to get worse:
"As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is implemented on the state level, keeping these issues at the forefront will keep the focus on improving health care access for all South Carolinians. Many assume that the new health care legislation will alleviate the overcrowding of America’s EDs, but just the opposite could be the case
if plans are not made to deliver efficient, cost-effective, appropriate care to the newly insured. When Massachusetts implemented health care coverage for all, ED visits increased by seven percent with a corresponding increase in costs of 17 percent." At least SC recognizes the problem, while GA buries its head further into the sand, and guess who pays in the end? ERs are not going to get less crowded. Just the opposite. Care will suffer. Georgians should realize that their officials are not serving them well.

oldredneckman96 02/19/13 - 08:57 pm
Obama Care

Hope none of the Dr.s voted for Osama. When you have a few days, read the Osama Care Act, if you don't like what is going on now, just wait.

Adam Bomb
Adam Bomb 02/20/13 - 07:59 am
Here we go again.

They allow things that cost lots but give very little benefit. They turn down things that might actually be good for the taxpayers. No ER in the whole county? Who is that good for. How can they prove need for an ER? Well they could set up a schedule for stabbings, shootings, car accidents, bee stings, ladder falls and sports injuries. If the citizens would follow the schedule and get hurt or sick on schedule they could prove that Columbia County actually needs it's own ER.

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