Ge­or­gia sys­tem wins court OK to open sur­gi­cal cen­ter

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Beth Kutscher

Wel­lS­tar Health Sys­tem can open an am­bu­la­tory surgery cen­ter at its East Cobb Health Park.

Af­ter a four-year le­gal bat­tle, the Ma­ri­etta, Ga.-based sys­tem re­ceived a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion from the state’s Supreme Court grant­ing its cer­tifi­cate of need.

Wel­lS­tar sub­mit­ted its CON ap­pli­ca­tion in 2010, re­quest­ing to trans­fer three op­er­at­ing rooms to the health park from its Windy Hill Hospi­tal. While the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Health ini­tially granted the CON, an­other lo­cal provider, At­lanta-based North­side Hospi­tal, protested and took Wel­lS­tar to court.

At is­sue was whether Ge­or­gia’s CON reg­u­la­tions were “un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally vague” in al­low­ing the health depart­ment to de­cide on a “case-by-case ba­sis” whether an off­site am­bu­la­tory surgery cen­ter is “part of a hospi­tal,” and there­fore sub­ject to less strin­gent re­view.

The Ge­or­gia Court of Ap­peals and a Ful­ton County Su­pe­rior Court judge agreed that the rule was un­con­sti­tu­tional and blocked the am­bu­la­tory surgery cen­ter, but the Supreme Court dis­agreed and re­versed the CON de­nial.

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