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FirstHealth Calls on Cape Fear to Do the Right Thing for Hoke County

| Date Posted: 10/21/2010

RAEFORD – In a bold move, FirstHealth of the Carolinas is proposing that both FirstHealth and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center move forward with their plans in Hoke County. Last month, the State approved both health systems’ 2010 Certificate of Need (CON) applications to build a hospital in Hoke County.

“The county continues to grow, the base realignment activities are increasing, but needed health care services are delayed,” said Charles T. Frock, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas. "The State's decisions recognize that Hoke County can support two hospitals, and FirstHealth agrees.”

FirstHealth proposes an agreement between both health systems not to appeal the other’s 2010 CON approval or intervene in the 2010 decision. FirstHealth also proposes that both health systems drop their appeals of the state’s 2009 CON decision.

“Our proposal is quite simple,” said Frock. “We both move forward without unnecessary delay. We support Cape Fear Valley building its hospital in either Hoke or Cumberland County. It is a better use of all our resources to bring both hospitals’ services to Hoke County rather than to prolong the process. We hope Cape Fear Valley shares our view.”

Hoke County is the largest county in the state without its own hospital. An agreement to drop all appeal options and interventions would mean both health systems could begin planning for their respective facilities.

Frock said, “We recognize there are economic issues impacting all health care service providers. For that reason, we initiated discussions with Cape Fear Valley in an effort to work together and come up with a fair and collaborative solution. Our conversations with Cape Fear Valley have been productive, but so far we have not yet reached agreement.”

When competing interests file CON appeals, the building and construction phases are delayed until a final decision is rendered. The initial administrative appeals process takes 270 days; however, a final decision could take three to five years. Removing the barrier of a delay relieves the state of burdensome legal costs and time associated with the appeals process.

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