BRASELTON — Northeast Georgia Medical Center officials say plans for a hospital campus at Medical Plaza 1 in Braselton remain on schedule as litigation with Barrow Regional Medical Center continues.
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce South Hall Business Coalition met Tuesday morning at Medical Plaza 1 with local business leaders and Braselton and Oakwood officials to network and discuss the plans for building a hospital campus on the 119-acre site on Thompson Mill Road.
"We want to reassure you that we’re still committed to building the hospital here," said Melissa Tymchuk, hospital spokeswoman. "It’s scheduled to open in 2012 and we’re still on schedule. But we need to get the (certificate of need) before we can proceed."
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, 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.
"We hope to have a decision by the fall ... and we’re confident that we’ll have the CON reinstated," Tymchuk said.
Local officials and business owners also had the chance at Tuesday’s meeting to take a tour of the Medical Plaza 1 facilities, which include an allergy and asthma care center, imaging center, neurology services, plastic surgery services, outpatient laboratory, rehabilitation center and other services.
The medical plaza continues to incorporate new clinical services into its facility with a timeshare suite in part of the building for medical practices to share. Currently, The Longstreet Clinic, Northeast Georgia Urologic Associates, Northeast Georgia Kidney Center, Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic and the Gastroenterology Associates of Gainesville use the facility on different days to provide services to residents in the South Hall.
Tymchuk said many of the practices may be moved to permanent locations within the medical plaza in the fall.
"We think this is a great model for getting more groups in here," she said.
Northeast Georgia Medical Center also owns the Thompson Mill Medical offices across the street on Thompson Mill Road, which include the heart center and pediatrics facility.