Doctors Hospital loses legal fight over 100-bed hospital in Georgia

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A dispute over Augusta (Ga.) University Medical Center's plan to build a 100-bed hospital in Columbia County has finally ended, with the Georgia Supreme Court denying Doctors Hospital of Augusta's appeal to hear its case, ABC affiliate WJBF reported.

Plans for a new hospital have been tied up in a legal battle since 2014, when three Augusta-based hospital systems — Augusta University Medical Center, Doctors Hospital and University Health Care System — applied for a certificate of need to build a 100-bed facility in Columbia County. The Georgia health department awarded the certificate to Augusta University Medical Center, turning down the other two hospital systems. Doctors Hospital sued over the decision.

Doctors Hospital asked the Georgia Supreme Court to review the case twice. Both times, the court ruled in favor of the university medical center. 

"While we strongly disagree with the court's decision, it is final," Doctors Hospital said in a statement cited by WJBF. "We were approved to build a free-standing emergency room in Evans and will look to further expand access to care across Columbia County, so residents can continue to receive healthcare from their hospital of choice."

Katrina Keefer, CEO of Augusta University Health, released the following statement, as cited by WJBF. "This is a day we have been anticipating for quite some time. A dedicated hospital for one of Georgia’s fastest-growing and largest counties will provide immeasurable benefit to our community and especially our patients that call Columbia County home. I now look forward to taking the next step in working with our AU Health caregivers and our partners in Columbia County to proceed with the design, planning and construction process."

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