Based on the study's findings, researchers say the proposed medical center is not needed (Source: WALB)
Dougherty Co. Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas
The study says "the cost of healthcare could ultimately increase as LCMC represents an unnecessary duplication of healthcare resources (Source: WALB)
The Dougherty Co. Board of Commission will continue to oppose the hospital's Certificate of Need (Source: WALB)
The study says Phoebe could lose more than 10% of patient volume (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -
The Dougherty County Commission will continue to oppose the proposed Lee Co. Medical Center after a recent impact study shows the hospital will have a negative impact on Dougherty County.
The report conducted by Chafin Consulting Group, Inc. says:
"The proposed Lee Co. Medical Center will significantly and adversely impact the existing healthcare delivery system, and thus Dougherty Co. and its residents."
Dougherty County commissioners asked for the study last month in order to see how the proposed medical center would impact Dougherty County.
"That report is extensive. It's been prepared by some very smart people, a very experienced consulting group," said Dougherty Co. Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas.
Cohilas said there were several items that jumped out at him.
"It addressed the significant negative impact that it has or will have on Dougherty County being able to treat its poorest patients," said Cohilas.
The report said in order to meet its volume projections, the Lee County Medical Center would have to attain insured patients from the four safety net hospitals located throughout the area. Thus, leaving the four hospitals with a higher percentage of patients with financial needs.
"It's a very complicated subject and you have to study things on whether it's financially feasible," said Cohilas.
The report shows that much of the area's population is decreasing, except for Lee County which is expected to see an additional 200 residents a year for the next five years. But those with the study say:
"Further, while Lee Co. is projected to have increase in population, that increase will amount to only approximately 200 residents per year for the next 5 years, which is not enough to support a new 60-bed hospital."
The study also questions whether or not the medical center can employ more than 350 employees since the area is already experiencing a shortage of nurses.
"According to every single expert analysis that's been done, this is not a good investment at a time when Georgia is third in the nation of rural hospital closures," said Cohilas.
The study cost around $35,000 and was paid for by Dougherty County tax dollars.
The county commission chairman encourages everyone to view the report. The county plans to make it available to everyone within the next few days.