Savannah’s Memorial Health University Medical Center plans to build “freestanding” emergency rooms in Richmond Hill and Pooler.
The freestanding emergency rooms will be staffed 24/7, 365 days a year by board-certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses who are specially-trained to care for patients during a medical emergency, according to a press release from Memorial. Each facility will be more than 12,000 square feet, have 12 beds (including one trauma bay) and will employ 32 staff members.
The Richmond Hill facility will be located on property off Port Royal Road and Rabbit Hill Road and is estimated to cost about $12.5 million to build, according to a certificate of need application on file with the Georgia Department of Community Health.
These freestanding emergency rooms will function as satellite departments of Memorial Health, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center, the announcement stated. They will provide on-site CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds, include clinical laboratory services and will be staffed by clinicians trained to accept patients transported by EMS.
“Bryan County is excited to hear that Memorial Health has plans to build and open a freestanding emergency room in our community,” said Carter Infinger, Chairman for Bryan County Board of Commissioners. “This facility will benefit our residents in a multitude of ways, but most importantly by providing high quality medical care for those contending with medical emergencies requiring immediate attention.”
“Our new freestanding ERs in Pooler and Richmond Hill will be able to diagnose and quickly treat patients with serious medical conditions,” said Dr. Jay Goldstein, medical director of emergency services for Memorial Health. “Physicians at these facilities can care for emergent patients, such as stroke patients, administering tPA (a clot-busting drug) to stabilize the patient and then transfer to the hospital for additional care, if appropriate.”
The cetificate of need application was filed Jan. 21 by Savannah Health Services LLC “dba Memorial Health University Medical Center.” The application was listed as incomplete, according to the DCH website. Certificates of need are required of hospitals to ensure there’s a need for a facility prior to its construction.
Memorial did not provide a timeline for when the facility will be built in a brief statement emailed Tuesday in response to a reporter’s inquiry.
“Memorial Health is expanding to Richmond Hill to build a freestanding ER,” the hospital said. “Our goal is to ensure that all of our extended communities have easy access to the highest quality healthcare when an emergency strikes.”
The statement then quoted Memorial’s top executive.
“We know that when you or a loved one are ill or injured, speed matters,” states Shayne George, CEO of Memorial Health. "We understand that getting the needed care quickly helps to alleviate the pain and worry of both our patients and their families.”
The statement ended, “Memorial Health is deeply committed to serving the residents of Richmond Hill with the highest quality of care.”
While Memorial’s statement did not confirm the planned location of its freestanding ER, Savannah Health Services LLC bought a 434.2 acre tract on Jan. 29 “for and in consideration of the sum of Ten Dollars,” according to a deed filed that same day at the Bryan County Courthouse in Pembroke.
Real estate transaction documents note the transfer tax paid was $9,000, and the actual “value of consideration received by the seller,” was $9 million.
The seller is listed as Richmond Hill Property Acquisition Company, Inc.
The company has a Daytona Beach address and its CEO, Morteza Hosseni-Kargar, is also CEO and founder of Intervest Construction Company, also of Daytona Beach.
Bryan County’s online tax records show the property was assessed in 2019 at $1.9 million, down slightly from $2.1 million in 2018.
Those records show Richmond Hill Property Acquisition Company bought a 435.9 acre tract at that location from Rayonier in 2005 for $405,000.
The property off Port Royal and Rabbit Hill Road is apparently not the first site Memorial considered in Bryan County, according to the Department of Community Health website.
An expired “letter of intent” from Memorial received Dec. 20 by the state concerned the “construction and development of new freestanding emergency department,” and listed a location at the Ford Avenue and Forest Street intersection across 144 from Kroger in Richmond Hill.