Columbia County Pushes for New Hospital - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Columbia County Pushes for New Hospital

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Columbia County GA -

In an emergency situation, people in Columbia County may no longer have to drive far to get help. Proposals for a new hospital in the county have been submitted.

Time plays an important part during an emergency situation. When people in Columbia have to drive to a different county for help, this adds precious minutes that could save a life. The county is taking this issue seriously, and is the process of getting plans together to build a local hospital.

As a new mom and a nurse, Beka Kennedy, said there is no room for error when it comes to emergencies.

Kennedy lives in Grovetown, and works at a hospital in Richmond County. She said it can take up to 30 minutes to get to an emergency room, which is a problem for people who live in Columbia County.

And with more people moving to town a local hospital is necessary.

"I think that would be really nice for all the people that are living here now, there are so many, and there are a lot more coming, a lot more building and growth in Grovetown," said Kennedy.

Her wish might come true this January.

Commission Chairman Ron Cross said the county has submitted an application to the Georgia Community Health Association for a "Certificate of Need."

"We hope we have some success because we are the largest county in Georgia without its own primary health provider, and we think with all our growth it's time to have a county hospital with actual beds, emergency rooms, and trauma treatment," said Cross.

He said within this certificate there are exceptions the county could apply to: Either the hospital doubles as a teaching facility or the county can pay at least 20% of the cost.

"We are prepared to do that because we have a SPLOST program coming up next year and I think that would be a very good item to put in there that will allow us to have those funds to fulfill our part of the agreement," said Cross.

Cross said the hospital proposals are due January 10th. From there, the Commission will evaluate the proposals and choose which hospital they want to partner with to begin the process next year.

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