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Two surgery centers could be headed Braselton area’s way. Here are details
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Northside Hospital has a won a state ruling that, pending a final decision from the Georgia Department of Community Health commissioner, paves the way for a new surgery center in Braselton in South Hall. - photo by Jeff Gill

It now appears the Braselton area in South Hall may have two new surgery centers in coming years.

As part of an ongoing dispute between Northeast Georgia Health System and Northside Hospital, a state hearing officer reversed an earlier decision that would have prevented Northside Hospital from building an outpatient surgery center at 1255 Friendship Road near Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 in Braselton.

In the same ruling, issued Friday, Oct. 22, the official affirmed Northeast Georgia Health System’s surgery center, which will be in the yet-to-be-built Medical Plaza 2 building on the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton campus.

“We are pleased with the decision to uphold the certificate of need for our ambulatory surgery center in Braselton, and excited we’re one step closer to providing that service to the community,” said Anthony Williamson, president of NGMC Braselton and Southern Market leader for NGHS, on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

“We were confident that we made a compelling case that we are in the best position to serve this community, since we’ve been the local healthcare partner for decades.”

Northside officials also applauded the decision by Melvin M. Goldstein on behalf of the state’s Certificate of Need Appeal Panel.

“We believe the availability of an outpatient surgery during a pandemic is critical,” said Debbie Mitcham, president and CEO of Northside’s Gwinnett campuses, in an email. “As metropolitan Atlanta grows into Northeast Georgia, patients need a choice when it comes to meeting their surgical needs.”

NGHS will have 30 days to appeal Goldstein’s decision, which also would still need to be checked off by Department of Community Health Commissioner Caylee Noggle.

“We are still examining the details of the decision and assessing next steps for the short term,” Williamson said.

The dispute between the two hospital systems dates to 2018, when Northside applied to the state for permission to build the center and was denied. NGHS made a similar request and was approved in early 2019.

Northside’s 22,500-square-foot center would be located within an existing medical office building “and is expected to serve patients from 13 Northeast Georgia counties.”

The facility will have three operating rooms and one endoscopy room.

Services will include certain procedures in orthopedics, urology, gastroenterology, general surgery and neurosurgery among others, and the facility will offer an extended recovery unit to allow for the performance of complex surgical procedures, according to a Northside press release.

“Construction will start soon after we have the all clear,” Northside spokeswoman Katherine Watson said Tuesday. “But until then, we can’t project when the center will open.”

Medical Plaza 2 would contain a 25,000-plus-square-foot ambulatory surgery center. The building would include four operating rooms, two procedure rooms and prep and recovery areas.

The center, serving a 16-county region, would focus on orthopedics, gynecology, general surgery, gynecology, endoscopy and other services, and it also would include space for pre- and post-surgery care, according to NGHS.

NGHS expects to open the new center in mid-2023, Williamson said.

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