By REBECCA HAZEN
CHI Memorial has sent a Letter of Intent to the Georgia Department of Community Health, announcing that they will file a Certificate of Need later this month, to build a new, replacement hospital in Ringgold.
“We are hopeful that the state will confirm our plan and we will be able to progress and start construction in late summer of next year,” Andrew McGill, CHI Memorial Senior Vice President of Strategy and Development, said.
According to a CHI Memorial press release, the Letter of Intent outlined details of the project, including a projected total investment of more than $130 million to better serve its healthcare ministry in North Georgia. The Certificate of Need process is a requirement to secure the appropriate state regulatory approvals to advance the project and begin construction.
The new hospital, which will be named CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia, will replace Hutcheson Medical Center, located in Fort Oglethorpe.
“It is a 70 plus year old facility. It is old. It does not meet the expectations of today’s patients, and it needs to be replaced,” McGill said.
Also, the facility itself is no longer in an appropriate area.
“The community essentially has migrated. The center of commerce, retail and housing has shifted east. We need to be where the people are, where the commerce is taking place,” McGill said.
The new hospital will be located at 4710 Battlefield Parkway, which is about two miles from I-75, and the present location of CHI Memorial Rees Skillern Cancer Center, the CHI Memorial Surgery Center, and a medical office building where multiple practices are located.
“We own the land; we have 27 acres there. We can build what we need there. We acquired that property out of bankruptcy,” McGill explained.
When construction is started, a portion of the Surgery Center will be demolished, but the Cancer Center will remain intact, both of which are in the same building. The Surgery Center will be incorporated into the new hospital.
Construction is expected to have a two-year timeline, with a completion date in the mid to late summer of 2024.
“We intend to bring a core group of services that you expect to see in a community hospital, so we can meet the needs of the populations,” McGill said.
This will include operating rooms, a large emergency department, imaging, and lab services. McGill is anticipating the hospital to have 64 beds. There will also be a chapel on the facility.
CHI Memorial is also looking into the smart capabilities to enhance the patient experience.
“We want to minimize the challenges with everything from registration to discharge, anything we can do to make it a friendly, safe experience, that is driven by new capabilities,” McGill said.
“We earnestly believe that the people of north Georgia deserve to get their care at home. Over time, what we learned was the community does not feel that that hospital meets their needs. They continue to travel into Tennessee. We are building a new one in Georgia because it is what the people deserve,” McGill said.