‘I’m as frustrated as anyone’: Lee Co. continues hunt for healthcare partner

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 12:41 AM EST
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LEESBURG, Ga. (WALB) - The future Lee County Medical Center (LCMC) is still in the works, but ground still hasn’t been broken on the project. The issue now, and has been for some time, is landing a deal with a healthcare system to run the future medical center.

Lee County Commissioner Rick Muggridge said they are looking at a variety of healthcare providers. He said now it’s up to potential systems to make that investment.

Commissioner Rick Muggridge
Commissioner Rick Muggridge(source: WALB)

Muggridge said healthcare systems could be looking at that investment as a gamble, wondering if it will be a good fit for all.

“Money, I mean it’s always about the money. It’s a private hospital, people are investing money for an opportunity to make money,” said Muggridge.

Winston Oxford, the Lee County economic development executive director, recently released a statement on the matter. He said COVID-19 impacted “serious negotiations” with two potential partners.

Below is a copy of the full statement:

However, Oxford said there’s good news, the state has approved architectural plans and the county has signed a contract with a builder.

Muggridge said some construction is going on right now.

“There’s drainage work, there’s road work, there’s just clearing work. The kinda things that have to happen before construction, the infrastructure, that kinda thing,” said

The medical center is a majority private venture with very little tax dollars, like legal time and commissioner work put into a several years-long project.

Now, several years into the project and Commissioner Muggridge believes the medical center is still needed.

“Almost every other community in the United States of America has a choice when it comes to healthcare and we don’t. So yeah, I’m as frustrated as anyone,” said Muggridge.

According to our records, the current Certificate of Need expires in June of next year but is a groundbreaking or opening date on the horizon?

“When? I couldn’t answer that,” responded Muggridge.

While a date may not be set, the Lee County Board of Commissioners and other Lee County leaders are still optimistic about the future of the LCMC.

“So we’re gonna keep pushing and we’re gonna keep swinging,” said Commissioner Muggridge.

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