Chiefland hospital developers seek certificate from state

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Plans for a hospital in Chiefland are back on the table.
Frank Schupp, vice president of business development with Ameris Health, the company that would manage the proposed hospital, said Monday that his company is seeking a new Certificate of Need from the state.
Talks of a hospital have been ongoing for years, but funding for the project, despite the need in the area, was always in short supply. Ameris lost its last Certificate of Need last year after not being able to move forward with development.
But Schupp said the money issue has changed, claiming that CBC, a real estate company from Missouri, has committed to financing about $30 million for construction, as well as another $15 for hospital equipment.
"The need for the hospital has grown, unfortunately," Schupp said.
Schupp said he has data to show the increased need, but he also needs letters of support to submit with Ameris' application for a Certificate of Need at the end of the month.
Schupp, who has been involved with trying to get a hospital in Chiefland since 2006, said the initial Certificate of Need application was accompanied by 5,400 letters. But because it's a new application, the process starts anew.
"We're looking for personal experiences," Schupp said, stories from the community that will highlight the need for a hospital.
Officials should know if the Certificate of Need is granted by December, he said, and then the whole process of drawing up plans and submitting bids for construction will begin.
The proposed facility, once known as the Tri-County Hospital, is now going by the name of Suwannee River Community Hospital.
Schupp said plans include constructing it at the same site, behind Walmart, that was picked out years ago. Ameris is hoping to construct a 28-bed facility, which, he estimated, would employ about 150 people.
For more information, contact Schupp at frankgschupp@embargmail.com, or call him at 850-496-7471.
Send letters to:
Frank G. Schupp
Suwannee River Community Hospital, Inc.
193 Ventana Blvd.
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459