We’re all good here, really

A recent study by Piedmont Newnan Hospital said 8 percent of high-schoolers in Coweta County attempted suicide.

It gets worse. Twenty-nine percent of those teenagers reported having been “sad or hopeless.” Another 14 percent made plans to commit suicide, whether or not they actually went through with it. In fact, “suicide was the third-leading cause of premature death over a five-year aggregate period,” the study said.

Furthermore, the adult population’s “poor mental health days” was higher than state and national averages. “Over the last five years, mental and behavioral disorders were the seventh-leading cause of emergency room visits,” the study said. “This is an aggregate and does not include the ramifications of violent outbursts, such as assault.”

But we don’t need a behavioral hospital here.

At least not according to the state, which has determined a facility 30 miles from downtown Newnan — and in another county — is sufficient. The state recently denied a Certificate of Need for US HealthVest, a private company, to open a facility at the old Piedmont Hospital on Hospital Drive. In a nutshell, the state didn’t see the need and basically said that competition with another facility would drive up health care costs.

Oh please.

That’s like saying we can’t have two major box store hardware companies across the street from each other, or hamburger joints, or pharmacies, or gas stations. Nope, never see that around here. The whole idea of competition is just foreign to American business — and we all know competition always drives up prices. And pigs — and the state — fly.

Thankfully, the county and city of Newnan aren’t letting the state off that easy. They are joining forces to appeal the state’s decision.

“We believe the citizens of Newnan and Coweta County should have that type of care available to them locally,” said Newnan Mayor Keith Brady. Coweta County Administrator Michael Fouts added, “We feel like there is vast support, and demand, for this. We feel like it would be a great asset to the community, both locally and in the region.”

We agree. And we also support proposed legislation expected to come up during the General Assembly to either eliminate or overhaul the Certificate of Need process.

State Rep. David Stover, R-Palmetto, said he plans to sponsor or co-sponsor such a bill. “We will be working to reduce or eliminate the Certificate of Need process,” he said. “It is an abysmal failure by the state of Georgia, and the Department of Community Health, to deny a Certificate of Need for a behavioral hospital in Newnan. There are no competing facilities in the area, and had there been a competing facility, the hospital should still be able to open.”

Absolutely.

Our citizens need this facility. Even Piedmont Hospital supports it, along with just about every other community group. This is, as US HealthVest Chief Operating Officer Neal Cury said, “round two.” We urge everyone to continue to fight for the behavioral hospital in Newnan.



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