Columbia County Commissioners are one step away from naming the hospital that will serve thousands of people in their community. News Channel Six's Dee Griffin was at the meeting and has more on what happened.
As anxious residents and hospital administrators watched and waited, Columbia County Commissioners took questions about what could give life to an area that has been non-existent when it comes to healthcare. Columbia County Commission Chairman Ross Cross says, "It's extremely tough. We have three great applicants and all three would be great partners."
According to commissioners, the hospitals will be judged based on three criteria. Topping the list is cost and how much the county will have to pay. Second, the proposals are judged based upon methodology, approach and technique. The third criteria is based upon qualifications and experience. "It's a thousand points and we will evaluate according to that criteria and the institution with the most points will probably be the choice," explains Cross.
Each hospital has its own reason for wanting to heal what ails the people of Columbia County.
Doug Welch of Doctor's Hospital says, "most people from Columbia County already come to Doctor's Hospital so they voted with their feet and they come to Doctor's Hospital mostly already. We think we've sized this to meet the future of Columbia County."
Shawn Vincent, Senior of GRHealth says, "beyond just the medical component but the idea of having an entire Columbia County health campus which would also incorporate teaching activities around Georgia Regents University certainly would be a great asset for this community."
University Hospital's Ed Burr explains, "University has the highest quality care. It's the best value. It's local control. We have a great site with a medical community already invested around it."
As Commissioners pave the way for their vote to name the hospital of their choice, they are also preparing for a long ride to completion which will be based on a decision by the Georgia Board of Community Health. "They're the ones that will review it and say that it's approved under the exceptions or approved under the CON process or whatever they decide. But no nothing will happen until that happens and then if the other two appeal that decision that will push it out a little further," adds Ron Cross.
Columbia County Commissioners will vote on the new hospital during their March 18th meeting.
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