Georgia system wins court OK to open surgical center
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.