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Ambulatory Surgery Center Decision Appealed

| Date Posted: 3/16/2010

Ambulatory Surgery Center Decision Appealed

RAEFORD – The Surgery Center of Pinehurst in partnership with FirstHealth of the Carolinas has appealed the state’s denial of its certificate of need (CON) application for an outpatient surgery center in Hoke County.  The Surgery Center of Pinehurst and FirstHealth submitted an application to build a free-standing ambulatory surgical center (ASC) on August 17, 2009.
“FirstHealth’s long-term plan for Hoke County remains the same,” says Charles T. Frock, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas.  “We want to provide high quality surgical services and health care services to Hoke County residents and continue to build upon the commitment we made to the county many years ago. The Surgery Center of Hoke will provide expanded access for outpatient surgeries in a convenient close to home setting.  We believe the state will see the merit in this approach by FirstHealth and the Surgery Center of Pinehurst."

The state questioned the need for the ambulatory surgery center given recent CON approvals of two area hospital plans that each include operating rooms.  Statistics show outpatient surgical procedures continue to grow through enhanced technology, and patients and physicians agree that the ambulatory setting is appropriate and convenient for most outpatient surgical cases.  The proposed ambulatory surgery center would be an additional outpatient surgical option.  To ensure full consideration by the state, the partnership will also re-file an ASC application in 2010.

The Surgery Center of Hoke proposal would offer outpatient surgical services to Hoke, Cumberland, Robeson and Scotland counties and surrounding areas.  In addition to providing two operating rooms, the ASC would offer the opportunity for pain procedure rooms.  

“The proposed Surgery Center of Hoke is part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality health care in Hoke for Hoke County residents,” says Charles T. Frock, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas.  “The ASC is complementary to the FirstHealth Hoke Community Hospital, not a substitute or alternative for it.”

The proposed location for the ASC is along the 401 corridor on the same property as the FirstHealth Hoke Community Hospital.  The location offers shared site development costs and room for expansion.

Regarding the two hospital plans on the table, Frock restated FirstHealth would drop its appeal if Cape Fear Valley Health System would drop their appeal of FirstHealth’s Hoke Community Hospital. 

“As we stated before, we support the availability of choices in health care services for residents in Hoke County,” says Frock. “The state's decision last year to endorse both projects did exactly that.  If FirstHealth and Cape Fear would both withdraw their appeals, then both facilities could proceed without delay.”
Frock adds, the unfortunate effect of all this is continued delays for Hoke County citizens to have more choice and greater access to health care.

View the article in the News-Journal.

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