CRYSTAL WELLS, left, is administrator of Grady General Hospital. She is pictured here conferring with Dori Griffin, RN, director of nursing.
The state surprised local medical officials last week when it reversed itself and dropped its plans to challenge Grady General Hospital’s application for a Certificate of Need to build a skilled nursing center in Cairo.
The hospital has been on a 16-month quest to earn a CON; and had successfully won an appeal this summer when the state filed a challenge late last month. Eight days after filing its appeal, though, the Georgia Department of Community Health withdrew it.
“We were pleased to learn last week of the state’s decision that makes it possible for us to proceed with plans to build a nursing home in Grady County,” said Crystal Wells, administrator of Grady General Hospital.
Wells contends the nursing home will meet a need for Grady County and area communities. The project is expected to cost $19 million and result in the creation of 89 jobs. The 75-bed facility will be built adjacent to Grady General, which is located on Fifth Street Southeast.
Exactly when construction will begin remains unknown. Wells says, “There is much work to be done to develop detailed architectural plans for the facility. Though it will likely be as much as two years before construction of the new facility will be complete, we are excited that we can now officially proceed with planning the new state-of-the-art facility, which will allow us to meet a real need for citizens in Grady and surrounding counties.”
The hospital first applied for a Certificate of Need on May 29, 2018, but that application was denied by the Georgia Department of Community Health on Sept. 25, 2018. The hospital appealed that decision on Oct. 23, 2018. A hearing officer heard that appeal on April 15 and on July 23 overturned the state’s September denial. The state had 30 days to appeal the hearing officer’s ruling, which they did on Aug. 22. Grady General and the Grady County Hospital Authority were waiting for a decision from the Georgia Community Health Commissioner’s decision on the state appeal when the state suddenly withdrew its challenge on Thursday.
That withdrawal clears the way for the hospital to proceed with its nursing home, which is expected to provide short-term and long-term subacute services including rehabilitation therapies, wound management and skilled nursing.
“I was totally shocked that the state indicated they would appeal the hearing officer’s decision, but even more surprised to learn they had dropped their objection last week,” Grady County Hospital Authority Charles M. Stafford told The Messenger.
Stafford said he is convinced that prayers for the new facility had been answered. “There is no doubt in my mind God intended for us to have this facility here in Cairo and Grady County. It is an answer to lots of prayers,” Chairman Stafford added.