Local News

Holly Springs vows fight to kill hospital bed-approval process

Posted March 3, 2009 6:29 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— Mayor Dick Sears said Tuesday he has asked state lawmakers to scrap the Certificate of Need process state regulators use to allocate health care resources across North Carolina.

The CON formula ties new hospital beds, operating rooms, outpatient treatment facilities and other resources to population estimates.

Last year, for example, regulators said Wake County needed another 41 hospital beds because of its growth. Novant Health applied for the beds to build a $100 million hospital in Holly Springs, but the state Division of Health Service Regulation awarded the beds to WakeMed for a women's hospital in north Raleigh.

"We're upset," Sears said. "If you're an animal – a dog or a cat – there are eight animal hospitals in the area. There's not a hospital for people. Something's wrong with that."

Novant Health also has appealed the state's decision.

Holly Springs might not be large, but it's growing, Sears said. A new hospital would create jobs in construction and health care, which is why he said he would continue to fight for it and against the CON process.

"Maybe it's to the point where we don't need it anymore," he said.

The federal government required all states to operate under a CON program until 1987. Since then, 14 states have discontinued theirs.

North Carolina shouldn't join the list, said Don Dalton, spokesman for the North Carolina Hospital Association.

"We don't think [changing is} in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina," Dalton said. "It's important because it helps save money and helps make sure people all over the state have access to medical care, rather than just in large metro areas."