Lee Co. to push forward with proposed LCMC despite Dougherty Co. - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. to push forward with proposed LCMC despite Dougherty Co. lawsuit

Special Called meeting of Dougherty County Commission on Tuesday. (Source: WALB) Special Called meeting of Dougherty County Commission on Tuesday. (Source: WALB)
Plans for the Lee County Medical Center (Source: WALB) Plans for the Lee County Medical Center (Source: WALB)
Lee County Commissioner Billy Mathis (Source: WALB) Lee County Commissioner Billy Mathis (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County commissioners were called into executive session at a special called meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss pending litigation.

Officials would not confirm if they were discussing a lawsuit filed by Interim County Administrator Mike McCoy against four commissioners or the lawsuit Dougherty County filed against the Georgia Department of Community Health in reference to the Lee County Medical Center, both, or something else entirely.

We learned Tuesday that in addition to the Dougherty County lawsuit, there was a lawsuit filed by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals against the Department of Community Health.

But according to the Lee County commissioners, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals withdrew their lawsuit Tuesday.

Regardless, Lee County leaders said they're moving forward with the plans for the new hospital.

On Tuesday evening, the Lee County Commission met for the first time since Dougherty County filed the lawsuit against the Department of Community Health. 

The commission meeting started around 6 p.m. and the discussion of the proposed Lee County Medical Center was on the agenda. 

Last week, Dougherty County filed the lawsuit against the Department of Community Health in Fulton County, which is the state agency that issues the Certificate of Need for hospitals. 

WALB spoke with Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas about the lawsuit who said the commission filed the lawsuit as a move to protect Dougherty County citizens. 

One Dougherty County Commissioner said he wants people to know he opposes his commission's lawsuit.

Dougherty County Commissioner Lamar Hudgins said he wants his constituents in his district to know he is against the commission's lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Community Health and has been against fighting the new hospital the whole time.  

"I did not feel it was any of our business what Lee County did. It's a pretty major event to be meddling in the business of another county. It's not something we need to do," said Hudgins.

Lee County Commissioner Billy Mathis said that lawsuit is not stopping the progress on building the Lee County Medical Center. 

"We have a clean Certificate of Need, which is a very hard thing to get in the state of Georgia. We have a certificate of need to build a hospital. We are going to build a hospital," said Mathis.

Lee County Commissioners said they've received plenty of feedback from the public on since the news broke last week.

"Dougherty County citizens are overwhelmingly in favor of a choice in health care," said Mathis.

Despite the lawsuit and the appeals, Mathis said Lee County is still willing to sit down and talk and work with Dougherty County.

"We are happy to work hand in hand with anyone on the Dougherty County Commission that will work with us to grow this community," said Mathis.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.

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