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Barrow hospital’s appeal due

Northeast Georgia Health System still aims to open new medical site

POSTED: April 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Barrow Regional Medical Center in Winder has failed twice to block Northeast Georgia Health System’s planned Braselton hospital, and they have until today to file suit in court.

In April 2007, the Georgia Department of Community Health gave Northeast Georgia Health System the go-ahead to build a 100-bed hospital near the intersection of the realigned Thompson Mill Road and Ga. 211.

Barrow Regional appealed in December to a hearing officer, who upheld the Department of Community Health’s decision to award the certificate of need. Then Barrow took the matter to a review board, which upheld the hearing officer’s decision on Feb. 21, said Chad Bolton, director of planning for Northeast Georgia.

Barrow has a 30-day window, which ends today, to file suit in the judicial system, or the hospital will have to end its appeal.

"We’re cautiously optimistic that they will drop it and let it go," Bolton said.

A Barrow Regional spokeswoman declined to comment Monday about the appeal and said that a decision to file suit had not been made.

Barrow Regional is about 13 miles from the future Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton.

"We feel like the area is growing so much that there will be enough patients for us both," Northeast Georgia spokeswoman Melissa Tymchuk said.

The hospital, which will include an emergency room, will not open until Thompson Mill Road (Ga. 347) is realigned in 2011-12. Construction of the hospital has not begun due to the appeals, Tymchuk said.

However, construction is under way on Medical Plaza I, part of the River Place Braselton medical campus. The plaza is scheduled to open in the fall and will house 40 to 50 physicians. The plaza also will have internal medicine, specialties, urgent care, planning for radiation therapy and a community education room.

The Braselton Clinic on Thompson Mill Road is an incubator for Medical Plaza I, Tymchuk said. The Rehabilitation Institute, Advantage Sports Medicine and Imaging Center will move from the clinic to the three-story plaza. Sports medicine physicians at the clinic currently serve Buford, Mill Creek, Apalachee and Winder-Barrow high schools locally.

Shopping also is planned for River Place, Tymchuk said.

At 119 acres, the campus will be more than double the size of the Gainesville facility.

"We really feel like over the next 25 to 30 years, we feel like the population growth is going to require more services," Tymchuk said.



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