CHI Memorial has regained the approval needed to begin construction on its new North Georgia hospital in Catoosa County, near Ringgold.
The Georgia Department of Community Health approved CHI Memorial's certificate of need application, akin to a permit, in April 2022, but an appeal from Parkridge Health stalled the project. Parkridge announced earlier this month that it will drop that appeal, which would allow CHI Memorial's certificate to be reinstated.
CHI Memorial officials announced Wednesday they had officially re-received the certificate of need.
"This is wonderful news for the people of Northwest Georgia. We can now work on finalizing the plans necessary to begin construction on this long-awaited hospital," Andrew McGill, CHI Memorial chief strategist, said in a news release. "CHI Memorial has been on the ground with a variety of services and clinics in partnership with the people of Northwest Georgia for nearly 30 years, and this is the next step to ensure the residents have convenient access to hospital care close to home."
A CHI Memorial spokesperson said via text message it's too soon to say when groundbreaking will occur, but the news release states the facility is expected to open sometime in 2025.
The new Ringgold hospital will house 64 inpatient beds, including an intensive care unit, an emergency department, operating rooms, imaging services and noninvasive cardiac imaging, according to the news release. The new building will connect to the current CHI Memorial Parkway building on Battlefield Parkway.
CHI Memorial began operating its current hospital in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, in December 2017 but announced intentions to build a replacement hospital near Ringgold in June 2021. At the time, hospital officials anticipated the new hospital would be complete by mid-2024 but first had to obtain a new certificate of need by proving to state regulators that the replacement hospital was needed.
After CHI Memorial obtained the certificate in April, Parkridge officials appealed on grounds that they offer similar services just over the state line in Tennessee. The certificate of need appeals process can sometimes delay health care facility projects for several years or longer.
Parkridge's appeal prompted a Georgia health care regulatory board in October to unanimously approve a rule change to prevent out-of-state providers from appealing state-approved projects going forward.