Judge rules Doctors Hospital lawsuit cannot move forward

Judge rules Doctors Hospital lawsuit cannot move forward

A Superior Court judge in Fulton County has ruled Doctors Hospital's does not have standing to move ahead in its lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Back in May, Doctors filed the lawsuit, hoping to block construction of a brand new hospital by Georgia Regents University Health System in Columbia County.

Doctors had submitted a Certificate of Need in 2013 to construct its own free-standing emergency department in Columbia County, but the Department of Community Health denied the proposal, saying there was a lack of general need. University Hospital made a similar request for Columbia County, which was also rejected.

In November 2014, however, the state agency gave the green light to Georgia Regents to build a Columbia County hospital, including a new ER. According to Doctors Hospital spokesperson Adam Landau, that Certificate of Need was awarded unfairly to Georgia Regents.

The lawsuit alleges that the Department of Community Health used an loophole it created itself in order to select Georgia Regents, a state entity. That loophole, according to Landau, amounts to a change in C.O.N. law-- a change he says only the legislature has the authority to make, not the Department of Community Health.

The hospital issued the following statement: "The facts behind our case are solid and we believe the Department of Community Health acted outside the law to issue a CON to GRU.

It's important to point out the judge made no ruling on the facts of  the Department of Community Health's arbitrary decision.

His only ruling was on the technical issue of standing to bring the lawsuit.

The next step is to wait for a decision by the administrative judge on our appeal.

After that ruling we will determine our legal options."

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