COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Doctors Hospital of Augusta has announced that it has received approval from the Georgia Department of Community Health to build a free-standing emergency room in Evans.

This will be the first free-standing ER in the state of Georgia.

The 12,760 square foot facility will host 12 beds and add approximately 40 staff members to the Doctors Hospital system. The ER will be open 24-hours a day and will also offer a full lab, radiology and telemedicine services.

It’s set to be built at 464 North Belair Road in Evans.

No word yet on when construction will begin.

“We know that when people experience emergencies they’re looking for fast, high-quality and convenient care. By bringing an ER to the Evans area we will be able to meet the community’s growing need with the same high-level of care that we offer in our main emergency room,” said Doug Welch, Doctors Hospital Chief Executive Officer.

Augusta University Medical Center released the following statement regarding the free-standing ER,

“AU Medical Center is very disappointed in this decision. The Department’s decision overlooked AUMC’s new hospital project in Columbia County, which will provide emergency room access to residents of west Columbia County and Evans.  This hospital, which has been held up in appeal by Doctors Hospital for five years, was never mentioned as an alternative in the Department of Community Health’s decision to approve Doctors’ Freestanding ED project. In fact, the new 100-bed hospital was identified in a meeting last week with the Department of Community Health as an existing alternative to the proposed freestanding ED projects. In addition to AUMC’s new Columbia County hospital, AUMC believes the surrounding area deserves a freestanding ED in a location positioned to serve rural Georgia. The Doctors Hospital project is not positioned to serve the communities in need of true emergency department services.”