Update on Augusta University Health plans for Columbia County’s first hospital

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Written by Heather Henley

Augusta University Health has passed the final legal hurdle to build the first hospital in Columbia County.

Augusta University Health has passed the final legal hurdle in its quest to build the first hospital in Columbia County with the Georgia Supreme Court’s denial of a second review of Doctors Hospital’s lawsuit.

The June 1 decision follows the Georgia Court of Appeal’s ruling against Doctors in August and clears the way for AU Health to move forward on a 100-bed facility in Grovetown near Exit 190.

This long-awaited milestone follows six years of legal proceedings. In 2014, the Georgia Department of Community Health awarded AU Health the Certificate of Need after AU Health, Doctors and University Hospital applied. Doctors appealed the award and was denied, at which point Doctors then filed a meritless lawsuit to prevent the implementation of AU Health’s CON.

This is the second time the Georgia Supreme Court had the opportunity to review the decision. In December 2019, the Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals for review considering new case law. The Court has declined to review the case on the merits, which marks the final time the case can be reviewed and allows AU Health to move forward without further interference from its competitors.

“This is a day we have been anticipating for quite some time,” said AU Health CEO Katrina Keefer. “I now look forward to taking the next step in working with you, our AU Health caregivers and our partners in Columbia County, to proceed with the design, planning and construction process.

“Please accept my most sincere thanks and appreciation for your ongoing advocacy and support for this important project,” Keefer continued. “A dedicated hospital for one of Georgia’s fastest-growing and largest counties will provide immeasurable benefit to our community and especially our patients that call Columbia County home. This day would not be possible without you, and for that, I am truly grateful.”

About the author

Heather Henley

Heather Henley is Director of News and Information at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-4706 or