Appeal process begins for Newnan Behavioral Hospital

by Clay Neely - clay@newnan.com

The appeals hearing for the Newnan Behavioral Hospital Certificate of Need began Monday morning in Atlanta.

Tanner Medical Center, RiverWoods Behavioral Health, and Southern Crescent Behavioral Health System all filed requests to intervene in the administrative hearing with Ellwood Oakley, III, Esq. serving as the hearing officer.

VestNewnan, currently doing business as Newnan Behavioral Hospital, began the appeal hearing with the testimonies of various health-based representatives speaking on behalf of the proposed hospital.

One of the primary arguments made on behalf of the Newnan Behavioral Hospital is the proximity to many of the rural areas in the Coweta region such as Troup, Meriwether and Heard Counties and the recurring theme of finding care close to home.

Joy Shirley, director of aging with Three Rivers Regional Commission spoke in support of the Newnan Behavioral Hospital.

“There is no program in our region that serves geriatric health and many are not willing to make a trip to Atlanta,” Shirley said. “Not just Coweta but the surrounding rural communities – they see Riverdale or Atlanta as another country. The distance is the biggest problem for the seniors. The traffic, the distance – they watch the Atlanta news and view a lot of scariness so the distance issue affects the follow-up treatment, and as a result, their conditions worsen.”

Shirley also said there are able to make the drive or may be assisting a family member and they also have jobs, so the distance factor can be an emotional and financial burden as well.

“Family participation is very important. Involving family members of caregivers,” Shirley said. “When we screen individuals, examining their support net is a major factor. In a mental health field, you need that help.”

A total of 41 witnesses are scheduled to speak at the appeal hearing which will continue through Friday and then resuming after the July 4 holiday from July 7-11.



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