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Northeast Georgia Health System passes this hurdle for new surgery center at Braselton campus

The Northeast Georgia Health System intends to build a new “Medical Plaza 2,” containing a 25,000-plus-square-foot Ambulatory Surgery Center, at its Braselton campus once it gains approval from the Georgia Department of Community Health.

The Hall County Planning Commission Monday July 19 approved a rezoning application from NGHS to reduce parking requirements for its Braselton campus in order to build the new specialty office building.

The building will be located behind the existing Medical Plaza 1, according to a statement from Anthony Williamson, Southern market leader and president of Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton, and it would include four operating rooms, two procedure rooms and prep and recovery areas. 

This proposed building has been in the works for a few years but has so far failed to obtain a Certificate of Need from the Georgia Department of Community Health. Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton received approval from the department in early 2019, but that decision was opposed by Northside Hospital, Williamson wrote in a statement. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, judicial hearing testimony was not completed in 2019, resulting in a continuation of the hearing in June 2021, Williamson wrote. NGMC is still waiting on a decision.

“We remain optimistic that our CON approval will be upheld when the final decision is announced and are eager to start the development of our new ASC (Ambulatory Surgery Center),” Williamson wrote. “This request to the planning board is a part of our efforts to be prepared to start construction when we get final approval of the CON. In addition to the creation of new parking areas, it requests approval for use of existing available parking on the NGMC Braselton campus to serve the needs of patients visiting Medical Plaza 2.”

Northside applied for its own CON in late 2018 to build the Braselton Specialty Surgery Center, which would offer charity care to uninsured or underinsured patients and work with local charity clinics for patient referrals.

The existing NGMC Braselton Campus includes a 206-bed 5-story hospital building and an approximately 114,000-square-foot three-story medical office building, according to planning documents.

The proposed amendments to its parking requirements included reducing minimum parking requirements from three to two and a half parking spaces per bed at the center’s in-patient health care facility and from five to four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet at its medical office building. 

The center claims in its application that a significant portion of existing parking near the medical office building remains unused.

The application will go before the Hall County Board of Commissioners for final approval on Aug. 26.

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