AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Doctors Hospital filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Community Health saying that the department broke the law when they awarded Georgia Regents Medical Center with the bid to build a hospital in Columbia County.
The department awarded the certificate of need to Georgia Regents Medical Center in December 2014. Two other hospitals - Doctors Hospital and University Hospital - were vying for the bid.
Doctors Hospital officials said in a release Monday that their 2013 plans for a free-standing emergency room in Columbia County were also rejected by the Department of Community Health because of "a lack of general need." Around the same time, University Hospital had a similar project rejected for the same reason.
"We believe that any tax payer should be concerned by this. Anybody that owns an organization should be concerned when a government agency comes in oversteps a law and awards, in this case a hospital, to a state funded entity," Doctors Hospital Director of Marking Adam Landau said.
"Though little has changed since that application was denied, the Department of Community Health approved construction of a brand new hospital, including a new ER, they previously said there was no need for. Using a loophole, a state agency awarded the certificate of need to GRU, a state entity," the statement from Doctors Hospital reads.
But GRHealth spokesperson Denise Parrish said that Georgia Regents Medical Center is a 501-C3 not-for-profit that is not owned or operated by the state.
After Georgia Regents Medical Center was awarded a certificate of need, the hospital put together a timeline for construction, Parrish said. That timeline anticipated both the appeals process and possible litigation. Once the issues are resolved, Georgia Regents Medical Center expects the new hospital to take about 30 months to complete.