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New Hospital in Albany?

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February 5, 2007

Albany - Plans are in the works for a third hospital to open in Albany. Developers want to build a 50-bed long-term acute care hospital here.  It would keep your loved ones close by when they need medical treatment, ease the pressure on Emergency Rooms, open up beds in Intensive Care Units and provide a big boost for the local economy.

Just imagine it-- 50 beds, $10 Million and 140 jobs.  That's what the vacant land near the corner of Jefferson and Philema Road could develop into.

"When you look at the whole southwest part of Georgia, this is, in my opinion, the proper place to put it," says Ed Cunningham.

The proper place for a long term acute care hospital.  He says, "Most of the patients we treat are in the age range of anywhere around 70-85 years old. When they have multi system problems, major wounds, they're on a ventilator, it's very difficult for their loved ones and their family to travel."

And right now, that's what those patients and their families often do, driving to Macon, Columbus or Atlanta for long-term care. Albany Specialty Hospital would help keep them here.  Cunningham says, "When you look at a husband or wife in their 80s, that's a difficult trip to make."

The average length of stay in the facility would be 25 days for treatments like wound care or to be weaned off a ventilator.   

"It's really a perfect fit for our regional health care facilities," says County Chairman Jeff Sinyard.  He says he's excited about what this hospital would mean for patients.  He says, "It's giving more folks more access to rooms in our hospitals of Southwest Georgia and at the same time those folks leaving those hospitals will be able to go to a private room at this particular center, which is going to have 50 beds and give them the availability to get the care they need and of course, be close to home."

He's also excited about what it means for our economy.  He says, "We're pro growth, pro-business, and we're going to try to be a better steward this year for our tax payers and really bring in more jobs for our people."

And this hospital would provide up to 140 jobs. Not to mention the jobs created with the construction of the hospital.

Albany Specialty Hospital isn't a done deal. The hospital must get a Certificate of Need from the state. Phoebe and six other area hospitals support the project, and the state already determined there is a need for another 80 beds in Southwest Georgia.

If the hospital is approved, it will take about three months to finalize plans.  Construction should take about a year.

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