Erlanger is denied permission to build surgery center in Catoosa
Erlanger Health System’s plan to build an ambulatory surgery center in Catoosa County was officially shot down last week when the Georgia Department of Community Health denied the company’s request for a certificate of need.
Erlanger’s proposal included constructing a $9.77 million surgery center on Battlefield Parkway, but met resistance from local government officials and other hospitals since filing their request in November.
State regulations restrict health care facilities from expanding into communities where there’s not a specific need. With CHI Memorial Hospital, CHI Memorial Parkway, and Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton already in existence near Catoosa County, state officials agreed that Erlanger’s claim to build was unnecessary.
The decision was handed down on Monday, March 26, which was a big win for CHI Memorial.
“We are pleased that the Georgia Department of Community Health has rejected Erlanger’s claim that Memorial should be prohibited from providing surgical services at CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia,” said Andrew McGill, senior vice president of CHI Memorial. “We welcome the affirmation that CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia is a full-service hospital and never doubted that we were entitled to provide surgical services. Our team is working diligently to provide the same high quality of healthcare that the community has come to expect from CHI Memorial.”
Late last year, CHI Memorial purchased the hospital formerly known as both Cornerstone Medical Center and Hutcheson Medical Center in recent years. Also purchased was the former Hutcheson on the Parkway, a facility that offers a surgery center already.
Erlanger’s main argument in their claim to build was that Hutcheson had let its right to offer surgical services lapse during the period of time when the purchase by CHI Memorial was taking place in late 2017.
On Jan. 18, the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to contest Erlanger’s plans.
After that meeting, Commissioner Jim Cutler stated he felt like Memorial was making the true investment in Catoosa County over Erlanger.
“I don’t speak for the entire Board of Commissioners, but my personal opinion is that it’s more of a blocking maneuver on the part of Erlanger, rather than investing in Catoosa County,” Cutler said. “Memorial comes in and buys Cornerstone, investing money and getting a foothold in Catoosa and Walker County. ... They bought Hutcheson on the Parkway and bought land down Battlefield Parkway too, so it’s a question of who’s making the bigger commitment to Catoosa and Walker County.”
CHI Memorial Parkway, formerly known as Hutcheson on the Parkway, was part of the longterm investment CHI Memorial made in Catoosa County when it bought the facility in 2017. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)