Memorial Health hopeful certificate will be granted for freestanding ERs in Richmond Hill, Pooler

Memorial Health hopeful certificate will be granted for freestanding ERs in Richmond Hill, Pooler

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Memorial Health’s two freestanding ERs are back in process.

You may remember in February they were stopped as a few local healthcare groups petitioned their certificate of need. But Memorial says that decision was reversed recently.

Memorial Health’s plan to build two freestanding ERs - one in Richmond Hill and another in Pooler - is back on. Doctors say it will give them the opportunity to care for emergency situations in critical time.

“Whether it’s a trauma, a stroke, a heart attack things of that nature you have the quality, the clinicians, the nurses there to be able to take care of you and again we talk about the golden hour, well in these kind of situations we talk about the golden minutes because the sooner we can stop the cells of your body from dying the better your outcome will be in the future,” Memorial Health Medical Director of the Emergency Department, Dr. Jay Goldstein said.

Memorial Health spent more than $12 million for both locations to build the freestanding ERs. Leaders say they would have 12 beds with 25 staff and operate 24-7 with a full lab, radiology, imaging and more.

In 2018, Memorial’s ER saw more than 20,000 patients from Richmond Hill and Pooler, that’s why they wanted to bring the care directly to these growing areas. While opponents say this facility will charge higher rates than current care needs, Memorial leaders say it will operate like other ERs and is not meant to take away health care for others but add to the options for residents.

“I think urgent cares have their place, this is about emergency care and higher level of care and being able to serve for that higher level of care so we’re, we’re actually trying to do that. I mean there is some level of care in emergency departments that might be considered could be taken care of in offices in emergency departments freestanding, but this is not what we’re trying to do. We are trying to bring the higher level of care into the communities so that way we can serve that community really well,” Dr. Goldstein said.

While leaders are hopeful, the process still has a road ahead and is not official yet.

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