State cites lack of need as cause for denial
by Clay Neely
A Certificate of Need for the proposed Newnan Behavioral Hospital was denied because it would duplicate existing services, according to a state report.
The Georgia Department of Community Health findings also questioned whether the hospital would be financially viable. The state report also questioned the methods used by US HealthVest to support the new hospital, calling them “problematic.”
“The proposed project represents an unnecessary duplication of services,” the report stated. Therefore this project would not have a positive impact on the health care delivery system in the service area.”
“It is the determination of the Department of Community Health that the proposal is not consistent with the considerations, standards, and criteria applicable to the issuance of a Certificate of Need,” the report stated.
“We are appealing the decision,” said Dr. Richard Kresch, CEO, US HealthVest, on Thursday. “We want to thank everyone for their support and would encourage you to contact elected officials to express continued support for our proposed hospital.”
“The applicant documents a need for psychiatric and substance abuse services in the defined service area,” the report stated. “However, it does not appear that the applicant properly accounts for the existence of Tanner Medical Center’s (Villa Rica) 40 adult and 12 pediatric psychiatric and substance abuse beds located in Carroll County, which is adjacent to the service area.”
Willowbrooke At Tanner, located in Villa Rica, is more than 30 miles from downtown Newnan.
“According to department data, Tanner treated 141 adult patients from Coweta County in 2012, resulting in a 28 percent market share. Furthermore, Tanner has been approved for an additional 30 pediatric beds,” stated the report. “The apparent exclusion of these factors from the various methodologies is problematic and calls into question the reasonability of the applicant’s methodologies and projections.
“Furthermore, the applicant lists Fayette County as part of its service area. Fayette County is located in SSDR 3, and borders both Clayton and Henry counties, which have significant available bed capacity. The proposed project represents an unnecessary duplication of services.”
The report also questioned the financial impact on existing providers in the area.
“The applicant projects no adverse impact on existing providers as a result of its proposed project,” the report stated. “However, the applicant’s utilization projections are overly aggressive, and do not appear to adequately account for Tanner’s current service in the defined service area counties.”
The financial feasibility of the proposed facility was also called into question by the Certificate of Need panel.
“The applicant projects an average charge of $1,500 per day for the proposed freestanding, in-patient hospital,” the report stated. “According to department data, the average charge per day for inpatient psychiatric services in SSDR 4 for 2012 was $964. The proposed project would have an unreasonable effect on payors.”
“The applicant has failed to document or substantiate the existence of a patient base large enough to support its utilization projections or market shares,” stated the report.
“A free market should be the determining factor in regard to the needs of our community,” said Coweta Commissioner Bob Blackburn.
“Coweta County cares and it’s simply a question between wants and needs,” said Blackburn. “If a facet of mental illness hasn’t touched you or a loved one, you are fortunate.”
“However, there are many in our community who aren’t so fortunate. Nobody wants a loved one to have a mental illness. Regardless, we need a community facility and Coweta and its surrounding counties deserve a facility like this,” Blackburn added.
“I was tremendously disappointed to hear of the denial,” said Malcolm Jackson, co-chair for the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs.
“We’re aware of the needs of the veterans in our community,” said Jackson. “We have 11,000 veterans in Coweta alone and since this would be a regional hospital, I would think that you could increase the projected numbers extensively.”
“With all the ongoing cuts at the federal level, combined with the fact that we can’t serve them locally, you’re talking about a tremendous blow for those folks who can’t make that 30 or 40 mile commute,” said Jackson.
“We have such tremendous support from our local industries and leaders for a company that is willing to make a private investment in public health. The county and taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill,” said Jackson.
“The economy would dictate their survival. We need to be able to control our own destiny.”