Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hospital Closing Dilemma

Some rural Georgia Counties have no medical facilities. Some of these counties are attempting to get a Bill passed to allow them to plan and construct a free-standing emergency room.

GA SB 158, would allow rural Georgia Counties that have no hospital to be able to build a free-standing emergency room if it is needed and is economically feasible.

See Bill at:

Julianne Thompson makes the case for GA SB 158

Over the past 8 years we have watched access to healthcare in the United States come under attack from over regulation. The good news is we have the ability to do something positive for our own care in Georgia.

As conservatives we support the free market system, and as such we celebrate the ability of quality healthcare services to expand in Georgia - services that could benefit countless Georgians. As an example a few years ago Cancer Treatment Centers of America opened in our state, and we are so thankful they did, as many people have been treated and lives saved as a result. But, it was not without having to be granted a special waiver and being capped because of archaic CON laws.

The State of Georgia has one of the most restrictive CON laws in the United States, even though the federal government repealed it's CON laws in 1986 and many other states have followed suit.

A current bill in the Senate right now is SB 158. This bill would modernize and reform our CON laws and as such lower healthcare costs. It would attract new doctors to Georgia, expand emergency care, and give patients better access to more choices in quality care.

SB 158 would allow the Department of Community Health to hold a competitive process for hospitals to build a freestanding emergency facility in a county that has no hospital currently. And we all know in the case of an emergency the difference between life and death can be just a few minutes. Every second counts.

The state should not stop a county from building an emergency room to serve its citizens. Right now in Georgia single specialty groups are allowed to have operating rooms, but multi-specialty groups are not.

This bill levels the playing field by allowing multi-specialty groups who accept Medicaid to do some operations in an outpatient setting, reducing costs, giving patients more choice, and reducing the burden on taxpayers.

Since we need more primary care doctors in Georgia, this bill would allow single specialty groups who have an operating room to not only transfer to a multi-specialty group, but also recruit more doctors, including primary care doctors to serve local residents...without being punished.

And lastly it says that NONE of these things can occur in a county that is serviced by a single hospital with fewer than 100 beds. That eliminates any possibility that it could hurt struggling rural hospitals.

This bill goes before committee Thursday afternoon at 2 PM. Your calls and emails to the members of the Health and Human Services Committee are crucial. They need to know you are informed and you want positive change and better access to quality healthcare.

Julianne Thompson


Rescue and repair service costs have quadrupled. Large hospitals have a monopoly on expensive treatments and counties need lower cost options. We need to loosen regulations to allow this to happen.

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

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