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East Cobb Surgery Center Approved

A major element of the proposed WellStar East Cobb Health Park has been cleared by the state.

The controversial East Cobb Health Park got a crucial endorsement on Monday when it received approval for a key element of the project.

The Georgia Department of Community Health has denied Northside Hospital's appeal of a certificate of need for an outpatient surgery center that is included in WellStar's proposed facility on Providence Road near Roswell Road, The Marietta Daily Journal reported. 

The surgery center is a cornerstone of the $80 million, 205,000-square foot complex that has raised the concerns of neighborhood groups and elected officials for months. 

In March, WellStar senior vice president and health parks administrator Joe Brywczynski at an East Cobb Civic Association meeting that left some citizens feeling as thought they weren't being answered. 

In addition to the size and scope of the project, nearby citizens said they were concerned about project design and traffic, since access is available only on Providence Road.

Some citizens groused that WellStar doesn't need to build the complex, but officials from the company have said surveys have expressed a strong community desire for the East Cobb Health Park. 

But as Andy Miller of Georgia Health News pointed out, WellStar and Northside, both nonprofit health systems, are locked in a battle "for the large population of privately insured, affluent residents in the suburbs north of Atlanta."

Said WellStar spokesman Keith Bowerman to the MDJ: "Any further appeals by our competitor may needlessly delay this much-needed and sought-after outpatient service.” 

County approval is not needed for construction, but the newspaper report indicated that WellStar has not decided whether to seek zoning changes or get final permission through the Hospital Authority. 

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