Catoosa County Commissioner, residents fed up over hospital dispute

CHI Memorial wants to relocate and build new hospital, Parkridge Health System contests move

CATOOSA COUNTY, Georgia (WDEF) — CHI Memorial Hospital in Fort Oglethorpe has provided medical services to the residents of Catoosa, Walker and Dade Counties for years.

But the facility is in need of an upgrade.

Memorial wants to build a new, modern hospital on its Battlefield Parkway property.

However, according to Commissioner Chuck Harris of the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners, Parkridge doesn’t.

“I respectfully asked Parkridge to basically stay in your lane, take care of your people and let us worry about the people of Northwest Georgia,” Harris said. “We don’t need your input. We don’t need your permission to build a hospital in Catoosa County.”

Harris says all Memorial wants to do is move their certificate of need from the aging hospital to the new location.

Catoosa County Public Information Officer John Pless says any time someone applies with the state for a new certificate of need, there’s a chance for anyone to comment — even in opposition.

“They have a right to oppose it, they have a right to state their views on that, but at the same time, Catoosa does as well,” Pless said. “The commission here in Catoosa County unanimously adopted a resolution supporting this. We’ve approved it, the community has approved it. Now we’re just waiting on that certificate of need.”

Parkridge responded by saying the “proposed relocation will duplicate services in a region that is already well-served while reducing access to care for the patient base.”

They also say they support “equitable and sustainable access to healthcare” and that Memorial’s relocation does not.

Harris believes Parkridge just doesn’t want a competitor and added that their interference is frustrating residents in North Georgia.

“They’re saying, ‘Why?'” Harris said. “‘Why are you allowing a Tennessee hospital to say what we can do in Georgia?’ The issue is this, and we don’t want it to be this — there’s becoming this ground-swell of ill will towards Parkridge. We never intended for that.”

Harris says residents believe they “deserve to have a hospital where they don’t have to go across the Tennessee line” to receive certain procedures and services.

Pless added he feels confident that “at worst case,” the relocation could be delayed but they “still anticipate an approval by April 29.”

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