Lee County files paperwork for new hospital

Published: May. 18, 2017 at 7:01 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2017 at 11:32 PM EDT
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From left to right Lee Co. Commissioners Bill Mathis, Rick Muggridge (Source: WALB)
From left to right Lee Co. Commissioners Bill Mathis, Rick Muggridge (Source: WALB)
Phoebe Spokesperson Ben Roberts (Source: WALB)
Phoebe Spokesperson Ben Roberts (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Lee County leaders said that they have filed the Certificate of Need application with the Georgia Department of Community Health, for permission to build a new hospital near Ledo Road.

"This is a phenomenal day for Southwest Georgia," said Lee Co. Commission Chairman Rick Muggridge.

Muggridge was happy about filing the certificate for the proposed hospital.

In a release Thursday, county leaders said the county will provide the land for the hospital and they will be working with an experienced developer to build it.

If approved, the tall grass that's growing where the former Grand Island Golf Course use to be located, would be turned into a state-of-the-art hospital facility.

The hospital could provide both acute and emergency care services including an ICU medical and surgical unit, inpatient and outpatient services, and more.

County leaders also project that it will provide nearly $6 million in uncompensated care and nearly $12 million by year two.

The hospital will create more than 350 jobs, which is double the amount stated in initial the letter of intent to file certificate of need.

"People from all over our community will be working at the hospital and around the hospital," said Muggridge.

And the hospital will collaborate with a variety of community partners such as Lee County Optical and Lee County Health & Rehab.

But there are still several questions that need to be answered, like who will manage the hospital and will taxpayers have to assist with the building costs.

"I want to say that again, no burden on the taxpayer," said Lee Co. Commission Vice Chair Billy Mathis.

They plan to finance the project through the development authority issuing bonds.

"Yes they'll be some upfront costs, we're going to budget for those things," said Muggridge.

And one reason the project was met with some resistance, but now, "everybody is happy, everybody says we want a choice, we competition in the healthcare market here," said Mathis.

And the hospital would reflect the community.

"It will be a board of local citizens, local physicians, and it will have a local flavor," said Mathis.

"In the not too distant future we will have another great day," remarked Muggridge.

"I'm absolutely confident," said Mathis.

Lee County leaders said the application review process will take approximately four months to complete.

The full application of need is below:

Representatives from Phoebe released the following statement in response:

Phoebe leaders said the proposed Lee County hospital would have a significant impact on Phoebe and its employees.

Because of Southwest Georgia's stagnant population growth, Phoebe said the proposed hospital would impact their bottom line, and they were
anxious to learn more about the proposed hospital.

"I think everybody should be concerned with this process and how's its gone so far. And how it will go in the future. Lee County leaders have been talking about this for quite awhile just not publicly," said Phoebe Spokesperson Ben Roberts.

Roberts also said Phoebe administrators hope Lee County leaders will be open and honest to taxpayers as the hospital project moves forward.

For more than 100 years, Phoebe has remained committed to providing cutting edge care to local citizens in need.  It’s an enormous responsibility our local volunteer board takes seriously.  It’s the reason we continuously look for ways to elevate the level of care available for people in southwest Georgia.

We’ve increased access to primary care, invested tens of millions of dollars in charity care, and added specialties allowing patients to get lifesaving treatments close to home, without having to travel to Atlanta or Jacksonville.  This level of service simply doesn’t exist in most other cities the size of Albany across the country.

We are glad that some information is finally becoming available about this new venture after months of closed-door discussions and virtually no public discourse.  Like all southwest Georgians, especially the taxpayers of Lee County, we are anxious to learn more about this proposal.  Many questions remain unanswered, and we hope, moving forward, that Lee County leaders and those behind this venture will now be forthcoming about the project and its potential impacts on taxpayers.

As Phoebe has done for the last 100 years, we will continue to embrace change and deliver on our mission to provide the best possible care for our community.”

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