Updated: State again rejects Floyd’s bid to offer adult open heart surgery.

Updated: State again rejects Floyd’s bid to offer adult open heart surgery.

 

Floyd Healthcare Management’s bid for open heart surgery service rejected again: The state Department of Community Affairs has rejected Floyd Medical Center’s recent push to launch adult open heart surgery, the latest development in a a two-year battle that intensified recently with a marketing push “More Heart for Northwest Georgia.”

The campaign, featuring Black residents of the community, was heavily promoted on social media. A separate website included this statement:

  • Currently, there is only one provider of open heart surgery in our area. Our community deserves a choice.
  • While 15 percent of our population is African American, African American patients receive only about 4 percent of open heart surgeries in Floyd County.
  • Floyd is mission based and wants to be part of the solution.

Redmond Regional Medical Center, which offers such services to Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama, countered those claims.

Kurt Stuenkel, Floyd’s president and chief executive officer, had the following comment Wednesday morning:

“We are disappointed by the ruling made today by the Commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Community Health. We believe in the merits of our application for a CON.  Disparities of care exist and Floyd showed them. There remain avenues for appeal so we will consider our next steps in this process. In the meantime, we will continue to build upon the programs we already have in place to serve everyone in our community, particularly those who experience the disparities we identified.”

John Quinlivan, Redmond Regional’s chief executive officer, said:

“For over 30 years, we have worked to maintain an exceptional open-heart surgery program for our residents. We appreciate the thoughtful review by the Department of Community Health and believe this is the right decision for our community. We remain committed to offering a high-quality, accessible open-heart surgery program to all of Floyd County’s residents.”

The state, in a nearly 20-page long review, once again rejected the push. The summary:

It is hereby ordered on remand that the August 16, 2019, decision of the Hearing Officer to DENY a CON to Floyd Healthcare Management, Inc., d/b/a Floyd Medical
Center to establish an Adult Open Heart Surgery program is AFFIRMED.  So ordered, this 30th day of June, 2020.

The document outlines the case, from Floyd’s original application for a certificate of need through a series of appeals. It also looks at bids from two other out-of-market hospitals which eventually were successful. A critical part of the denial includes the following:

“As a secondary matter, the undersigned notes FMC’s request for the atypical barrier
exception was based on cost, financial access and quality with subsequent argument resting on its
assertion the existing provider in its immediate proposed service area, Redmond Regional Medical
Center (RRMC) was not meeting the needs of the population FMC defined as facing these atypical
barriers to OHS services.

“As such, RRMC properly submitted documentation during the course
of the review cycle to address FMC’s arguments. This opposition information was taken into
account in the Department’s analysis. Since FMC specifically cited RRMC in making its
arguments, and since RRMC provided documentation during the course of the review cycle to
refute such challenges, it was proper for this information to be considered. Since the other two
applicants were not specifically addressing cost and financial access with respect to any particular
provider, the issue of consideration of RRMC’s information is more applicable to FMC’s
arguments. Therefore, the undersigned finds the Hearing Officer properly relied on this
information in his Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

“As will be discussed below, the undersigned finds that FMC did not satisfy its burden to
demonstrate there exists an atypical barrier to OHS services within its proposed service area
based on cost, financial access and quality for the population it asserts experiences this barrier.”

Here’s a look at how it is tracked in the Department of Community Affair’s latest summaries list (as of June 30):

2018-008 Floyd Healthcare Management Inc dba Floyd Medical Center (Floyd)
2018-009 Tanner Medical Center Carrollton (Carroll)
2018-010 Hamilton Medical Center (Whitfield)
Development of Adult Open Heart Surgery Service – Batching

Agency Decision: 2018-008 Denied, 6/25/2018; 2018-009 Denied, 6/25/2018; 2018-010
Denied, 6/25/2018

Appealed By: 2018-008 Applicant Floyd Healthcare Management, Inc. d/b/a Floyd Medical Center,
7/24/2018. Redmond Park Hospital, LLC d/b/a Redmond Regional Medical Center files request to intervene in Floyd’s
administrative appeal, 7/26/2018. 2018-009 Applicant Tanner Medical Center, Inc. d/b/a Tanner Medical CenterCarrollton,”TMC”), 7/23/2018. WellStar Kennestone Hospital (“Kennestone”) files request to Intervene, 7/20/2018. 2018-
010; Applicant Hamilton Medical Center, 7/24/2018.

Hearing Officer: 2018-008, 2018-009 and 2018-010 – William C. Joy, Esq. Hearing Officer denied Redmond’s request to
intervene, 9/27/2018. Commissioner denies Redmond’s appeal of Hearing Officer’s denial to intervene due to limited
review authority, 10/10/2018.

Hearing Date: 12/10,11,14/2018; 1/7-11/2019; 2/4-8/2019, 2/11-15/2019; 2/26/2019
Hearing Decision: Hearing Officer affirms Department’s decision denying CON Applications for 2018-008 (Floyd Medical
Center), 2018-009 (Tanner Medical Center), 2018-010 (Hamilton Medical Center), 8/16/2019. Floyd requests Commissioner review 9/13/2019. Hamilton requests Commissioner review 9/16/2019. Tanner requests Commissioner
review 9/16/2019. Redmond files renewed appeal to Commissioner on the denial of its request to Intervene, 9/16/2019

Commissioner Review Decision: On 10/15/19, Commissioner affirmed Hearing Officer’s 8/16/19 decision to deny a
CON to Floyd; reversed Hearing Officer’s 8/16/19 decision to deny a CON to Tanner; reversed Hearing Officer’s 8/16/19
decision to deny a CON to Hamilton; denied Redmond Regional Medical Center’s Renewed Appeal to Commissioner
Berry on the Denial of Its Request to Intervene. Redmond Regional Medical Center filed petitions for judicial review of the
Final Order of the Commissioner in project numbers 2018-008, 2018-009, and 2018-010, 11/14/19. Floyd Medical Center
filed Petition for Judicial Review of DCH’s Final Order denying a CON to Floyd Medical Center for project no. 2018-008,
11/14/19. Redmond Regional Medical Center files Renewed Appeal to Commissioner Berry on Order of Remand,
5/7/2020.

Superior Court of Fulton County Decision: Grants Hamilton’s and the Department’s motions to dismiss Redmond’s
petition for judicial review. Dismissed with prejudice, 3/9/2020. Grants Floyd Medical Center’s motion to dismiss
Redmond’s petition for judicial review. Dismissed with prejudice. 3/9/2020. Grants Tanner’s and the Department’s motions
to dismiss Redmond’s petition for judicial review. Dismissed with prejudice, 3/9/2020.

Superior Court of Floyd County Decision: On Floyd Medical Center’s appeal of the denial of its CON, the court
remanded the matter to the Department for complete review of Floyd Medical Center’s application, 4/14/2020.


Yet to be added: The June 30 ruling.

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