Georgia Supreme Court OKs hospital, capping four-year fight

Northeast Georgia Medical Center got the go ahead on Wednesday from the Georgia Supreme Court to build a hospital in south Hall County.

The decision came after four years of appeals that wended their way through the Georgia court system, according to a statement the hospital posted on its website. The 557-bed Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Ga., originally filed its Certificate of Need (CON) for a hospital in the county in November 2006. The Georgia Department of Community Health granted the CON in May 2007.

Through Certificate of Need programs, state governments have the power to determine whether there is a need for any new hospital before it is approved for construction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CONs are aimed at holding healthcare facility costs down and allowing coordinated planning of new services and construction.

Over the last few years, Barrow Regional Medical Center, a 56-bed acute-care facility, lodged many appeals, both administrative and legal to prevent the hospital planning from being built. BRMC filed a lawsuit in Barrow County Superior Court, which ruled in BRMC’s favor in December 2008. Northeast Georgia appealed the decision to the Georgia Court of Appeals, which in March 2010 reversed the Barrow Superior Court decision and reinstated NGMC's certificate of need. Barrow Regional petitioned to appeal the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the court denied Barrow Regional's appeal and upheld Northeast Georgia's certificate of need.

To learn more:
- read Northeast Georgia Medical Center's statement
- see the Atlanta Business Chronicle article
- read the article
- here's the Access North GA article