LEE COUNTY, Ga. (WALB) - Lee County leaders said striking a deal with a hospital system is the reason they have yet to break ground on the long-awaited Lee County Medical Center (LCMC).
Winston Oxford, with the Lee County Development Authority, told WALB in July, they expected a groundbreaking by the end of 2019.
Leaders said they’re now down to around eight hospital systems to choose from to run the multi-million dollar facility.
It’s expected to be built on the grounds of the former Grand Island Gold course.
“Because we have yet to strike a deal, a firm deal with a hospital system and we’ve been talking to a handful of them and we haven’t struck a firm deal with one yet,” Oxford said. "That’s the reason we haven’t broken ground yet. We have to come to an agreement with a hospital system that will benefit the hospital system as well benefit the Lee County Medical System.”
WALB asked officials if Emory Healthcare, a well-known system in Georgia is being considered.
“You know, we’ve basically been sworn to secrecy through this whole process," Rick Muggridge, Lee County Commission vice chairman, said. “We have attempted to work with every health care provider in Georgia, Emory is certainly one of those. I can tell you that we would be thrilled to partner with such a prestigious organization."
A hospital system has not been selected but that has not stopped Muggridge from being optimistic about the project.
“I just can’t imagine us stopping short of the goal line," Muggridge said. "Everybody involved, of course, everybody at Lee County is very cooperative. We just want to see it happen. We think it’s the right thing for the region. We think it’s the right thing for the people of Southwest Georgia to have a choice in their health care provider and so We’re gonna keep pushing.”
Oxford didn’t give an exact groundbreaking date but is optimistic it will happen before their certificate of need expires in June of next year.