Northwest Georgians voice support for new Ringgold hospital
Dade, Walker, Catoosa residents concerned Parkridge could issue appeal CON on new CHI Memorial hospital
FORT OGLETHORPE, Georgia (WDEF) — The state of Georgia just recently passed a certificate of need to allow CHI Memorial’s new “smart hospital” to be built in Ringgold.
However, some neighbors are concerned that Parkridge Health could step in the way of the process once again.
Numerous residents met in Fort Oglethorpe to voice their concerns about Parkridge potentially interfering in a hospital that locals say they desperately need.
The event’s organizer says there’s a “very strong potential” that Parkridge, part of HCA in Nashville, could appeal a CON that was issued across state borders.
However, the message to Parkridge was clear from residents of Dade, Walker and Catoosa Counties: stand down.
“The community is fed up with it and is basically standing up against it and saying, no, we want a hospital,” said Jonathan Connell, the event organizer. “They’re going to appeal a hospital to prevent us from opening? That’s wrong.”
Among those in attendance was resident Lyz Osborn, a member of the local deaf community.
She believes CHI’s smart hospital will be more accessible to those who are chronically ill.
“Places like Parkridge, the last time I went, in registration I had an interpreter,” Osborn said. “After that, they wanted me to lip-read or to write back-and-forth. CHI, I have never had a big problem with them getting interpreters.”
Walker County Chairman Shannon Whitfield challenged Parkridge to prove the looming appeal isn’t about the money.
He says “if it’s not about profits,” show it and allow CHI Memorial to build their new facility for people in need.
“Our friends over at Parkridge are getting a little greedy,” Whitfield said. “We just want to operate in peace and we want to have a situation where our citizens can get a new hospital and this thing not end up in litigation.”
To Catoosa County’s Chuck Harris, “it couldn’t be any more clear.”
“This is Northwest Georgia,” Harris said. “You’re a Tennessee for-profit hospital. This is a Georgia [non-profit] hospital, we are solely behind them and we want quality health care for our citizens in Northwest Georgia.”
Harris says Parkridge has had a 30-day period since April 29 to make the appeal.
Residents were asked to share Catoosa County’s #standdownparkridge post on Facebook.
From there, they can tag fellow residents who can further share it to gain greater traction.
CHI Memorial was not associated in any way with the event.