Thursday, WellStar Health System Inc. filed an appeal with the Georgia Department of Community Health—the same agency that rejected WellStar's first challenge last month.
While Northside has said the new hospital location would be less than three miles from the current one and therefore exempt from the certificate of need (CON) application process, WellStar has contended that Northside's math wasn't right. It has also argued that the hospital would offer new or expanded services, another factor that would disqualify Northside from a CON exemption.
"Our opposition is based upon the simple premise that Northside is required to play by the same rules as everyone else," WellStar spokesman Keith Bowermaster said Thursday in a news release. "In the interest of fairness, we provided Northside an opportunity to clarify publicly, and on the record, the size and scope of services that would be provided in the proposed new Cherokee facility. Northside has refused to respond to simple questions which leads to no other conclusion than Northside’s intent to expand the clinical health services offered at the new location. For that reason, the CON exemption that Northside requested is inapplicable."
When the Georgia Department of Community Health rejected that notion last month, Northside Hospital-Cherokee CEO Billy Hayes said he was excited to move forward with plans for a new hospital expected to add hundreds of jobs to the county.
"In light of this affirmative decision," he said, "any further objections or appeals by WellStar would simply be an attempt to delay the project."
Open the PDF on this page to read Thursday's announcement from WellStar.