Specifics in letters of intent for new hospital in Columbia County

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Thursday, May 15th, 2014

(WRDW) -- Three hospitals have now filed their letter of intent to build a hospital in Columbia County.

University was the first. Then, GRU and Doctors followed suit this week.

The letter of intent is a short one or two page document that proposes what each hospital plans to do. That letter starts the clock and the hospitals have 30 days to follow up and explain why the area needs a hospital.

GRU has filed the letter of intent and laid out its plan. It includes a trauma care unit and a helipad. The estimated cost is $195 million. They say they want a high tech facility, which may make the cost a little higher than others.

"It's about designing a hospital of the future, not just a hospital for today. You'll see a lot of high tech and working with our partners that we've been very public about with Phillips Health Care, and both with IT," said Shawn Vincent Vice President of Partnerships for GRU.

Doctors Hospital filed its letter of intent today. It includes an emergency room and a delivery room, with a $150 million price tag. Both hospitals have proposed a 100 bed facility, but that number could actually be higher.

"There are certain rules within the state such as around pediatrics, neonatal intensive care, and obstetrics that are not calculated in the bed count," said Vincent.

Both wanting to win the bidding war, and bring Columbia County it's first hospital.

"We're the leading provider of health care to the people of Columbia County. They use their feet, and they come to Doctors Hospital more than any other hospital in the area," said Doug Welch, Chief Executive Officer at Doctors Hospital.

"We have well over a decade of experience in trauma, and being the leader in trauma care it certainly makes the most sense," said Vincent.

The next step, each hospital has 30 days to file an application of certificate of need.

After each hospital files, the commission has 120 days to review them and either approve or deny them. Then, the hospital with the winning bid has 12 months to start the project.

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