GRU submits proposal for advanced hospital in Columbia County

News 12 at 11 / Friday, January 10, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The most technologically advanced hospital in the nation could be on its way to Columbia County.

The 93-page proposal GRU Augusta filed details a plan to build a 144 private room, community teaching hospital somewhere in the county.

"The proposal calls for a state-of-the-art community, health teaching hospital, the Columbia County health campus," said GRU VP of Partnerships Shawn Vincent.

It's a new plan, after Doctor's Hospital and University tried to build a free-standing emergency room in Columbia County, but were denied by the state. Vincent says this is different because it would be a full hospital with more complete care.

"What you're looking at is much more than just having access to an emergency room. So if you talk about the continuum of care, really what we're offering is an opportunity to treat someone from the time of birth, really, throughout their entire lifetime," he explained.

The new facility would cost upwards of $300,000,000, but Vincent says it wouldn't cost the county a penny. Plus, besides bringing somewhere between 750 to 900 jobs to the county, he says the hospital's technology will go unmatched with "the development of smart room technology and full time monitoring in the room of the patient."

"I would argue, it'd probably be the most technologically advanced hospital in the United States upon completion, not just in Georgia," said Vincent.

It would also have a Trauma II center, and based on the pulse of the community, which centers around a lake, and therefore lake accidents, a closer trauma center could save more lives.

"If you think about the access if someone has a trauma or some sort of injury in that area, or even Lincoln County, having a hospital that's potentially 30-40 minutes closer has a significant impact on the potential outcome on the patient's care," he said.

One of the biggest differences, however, is that GRU fits at least two of the three exceptions for adding new hospital beds in a certain place.

The first is that it's a teaching hospital. The second is it's an existing trauma center. The third exception would be where the county contributes 20 percent of the capital cost.

Again, they say this facility won't cost Columbia County taxpayers a dime.

Plus, with the Cyber Command coming to Ft. Gordon, and the overall expansion of the post, more people are coming to Columbia County and Vincent says they're going to need healthcare without driving all the way into Augusta.

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