Augusta University Medical Center can build 100-bed hospital, appeals court rules

Augusta (Ga.) University Medical Center can move forward on a 100-bed hospital in Columbia County despite a rival system's legal challenge, a Georgia Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 21.

The medical center applied for a certificate of need for its new hospital in 2014. Doctors Hospital and University Health Care System, both in Augusta, also applied for a certificate of need to build 100-bed facilities in Columbia County. 

After reviewing applications, the Department of Community Health awarded the certificate of need to Augusta University Medical Center, and not the other two hospital systems. 

One of the rival systems, Doctors Hospital, sued after the state health department's decision. 

A lower court ruled against Doctors Hospital in late 2015, and the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld that decision.

An Augusta Medical Center spokesperson told WJBF the ruling is "an important victory in the pursuit of expanded health services for Georgia's largest, and one of its fast-growing counties without a hospital."

"There is a lot going on in Columbia County right now in regard to healthcare facilities. At this point in time, we are exploring our options," a Doctors Hospital spokesperson told WJBF.

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