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Court ruling on planned Braselton hospital expected soon
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BRASELTON — The Northeast Georgia Health System expects to hear the court’s decision on its certificate of need for a 100-bed hospital at Medical Plaza 1 in Braselton by the end of this month or the beginning of next month, according to health system officials.

"We have the CON pending and if history holds true, we’ll know this month or early December," Jim Gardner, the health system’s president and CEO, said Thursday at the Braselton Rotary Club’s meeting. "I’m remaining cautiously optimistic that it’ll turn out in our favor."

In May 2007, Northeast Georgia Medical Center received its certificate of need, a document approved by the Georgia Department of Community Health stating the medical center’s intention to move 100 acute-care beds from its Lanier Park campus to the new South Hall hospital. The application was revised in 2007 for 100 new beds.

Barrow Regional Medical Center in Winder appealed the approval, arguing the decision was critical for the survival of its local 56-bed hospital.

A hearing officer upheld the original ruling and after a subsequent appeal by Barrow Regional Medical Center, a review board continued to rule in favor of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, according to hospital officials.

Barrow Regional then filed suit in Barrow County Superior Court, where Superior Court Judge Robert Adamson of Winder ruled in Barrow Regional’s favor on Dec. 22, 2008, and reversed the decision by the Georgia Department of Community Health approving the new South Hall hospital for Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Northeast Georgia appealed the case to the Georgia Court of Appeals, which on Jan. 30 agreed to hear the case.

Pending the outcome of the case, Northeast Georgia plans to build the hospital campus in Braselton and hopes to have it completed by 2014, Gardner said.

"It’s very dynamic," he said of the hospital-building process. "It could be sooner (than 2014), it could be later. But we’re enthusiastic about our resolution to build a hospital in Braselton."

The proposed hospital would cost an estimate $200 million and bring between 700 and 750 full-time jobs to the area, Gardner said.

"There’s a lot of capability and capacity here in Northeast Georgia," he said.

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