What do we know?

We are fortunate that the state of Georgia knows what Coweta County needs, or doesn’t need, better than we do.

Case in point: The state Department of Community Health recently denied a Certificate of Need for the proposed Newnan Behavioral Hospital. Sitting high on their thrones, the mighty state agency has bequeathed us with their better knowledge.

This all despite the fact the mayor and city council of Newnan, the Coweta County commissioners, multiple veterans groups, law enforcement agencies, physicians, the chamber of commerce and even our own hospital are all in favor of the facility.

What do we know?

Certificates of Need are controversial throughout the medical world. They are required when a company wants to build a new medical facility, or when an existing facility wants to expand or purchase expensive equipment.

Proponents of CONs argue, in part, that they are needed to help control health care costs. Oversaturating the market would lead to different medical complexes trying to make up the loss of patients through overcharging or requiring unnecessary hospitalizations or surgeries.

Opponents, for their part, argue CONs create a monopoly — the initial hospitals and medical facilities keep any startups from coming in, saying they can handle the need.

The state’s report includes all kinds of graphs and charts and various numbers supporting their position for the denial. Basically, they said Tanner Medical Center’s Villa Rica facility can handle Coweta’s caseload, especially with plans to add 30 beds. The state also criticized US HealthVest, saying it did not factor in the Tanner facility.

Furthermore, the state questioned whether HealthVest’s proposed Newnan facility would make it financially. On that latter point, isn’t it up to a business to determine whether or not it can make it? It’s the business that loses, not the state.

With regards to Tanner, that facility is more than 30 miles from Newnan. Do patients want to drive that far for services when there’s the possibility of having something much closer?

And is there a need? The state said there isn’t, that Tanner can handle it. But how do we know? How do we know that those needing these services can’t take the time to go to Tanner or don’t have the means?

US HealthVest officials said they will appeal. We agree. It should be up to the city, county and HealthVest to determine whether there is a need. Not the state.



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