CINCINNATI (June 23, 2018) – A judge Friday blocked a certificate of need for a proposed $24 million ambulatory surgery center in Northern Kentucky, ruling in favor of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, a Kentucky-based health care system that had appealed issuance in June 2017 of a CON to The Christ Hospital of Cincinnati.
Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate reversed the previous decision of an administrative law judge.
The Kentucky Office of Health Policy last year approved The Christ Hospital Health Network’s CON application to construct an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) on the site of the former Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell. Shortly after, St. Elizabeth Healthcare appealed the decision.
“The Christ Hospital had a fair opportunity to state its case, and the judge decided based upon all of the evidence that there is no need for another ambulatory surgery center in Northern Kentucky based on the existing excess capacity,” St. Elizabeth CEO Garen Colvin said via a statement his office released. “In addition, Judge Wingate ruled that the proposal did not meet the State Health Plan criteria, and that the project failed to prove that it would adequately serve the uninsured and medically underserved population.”
The project would have included outpatient surgical services, a diagnostic center and access to The Christ system’s 1,200 physicians. The surgery center would have anchored the Fort Mitchell Gateway Project, a mixed-use project developed by Northern Kentucky-based Brandicorp, that would have included a hotel, restaurants, retail businesses and multifamily units. The development site is at the crossroads of Buttermilk Pike and I-75.
The heads of St. Elizabeth Healthcare and The Christ Hospital characterized reversal of the CON very different terms.
“Today (Friday) was a setback for the patients and for the residents of Northern Kentucky,” said Mike Keating, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital. “What we have learned by caring for and speaking with Northern Kentucky residents is that consumers and patients prefer and are asking for more healthcare options in the communities where they live. We will continue to explore how to bring more healthcare options to the residents of Northern Kentucky notwithstanding the efforts of others to limit competition.”
The Christ Hospital Health Network is an acute care hospital located in Mt. Auburn, Ohio, with six ambulatory centers and dozens of offices throughout the region.
“Kentucky’s CON is all about providing access of the highest quality care to all citizens of the commonwealth,” Colvin’s statement said. “That’s what we do every day, right here at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. We have been committed to the Northern Kentucky community for more than 150 years and provide over $100 million in care each year to the uninsured, as well as other valuable community benefits. This ruling will allow us to continue to improve the lives of the people we serve and assure an equitable playing field, efficient use of resources, and the availability of quality care for all.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with our state leaders in Frankfort to improve the CON process, though we believe strongly that this process remains an important part of the sustainability of healthcare in the Commonwealth, especially to ensure access for our most vulnerable populations and rural areas.”