Cone Health to appeal state's approval of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist hospital

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, N.C., was approved for its $246 million Greensboro, N.C., hospital by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ certificate-of-need division, Triad Business Journal reported Aug. 8.

The hospital will have to begin operations by July 26, according to the approval. It will relocate no more than 36 acute care beds and two operating rooms from High Point Medical Center, of which it will be a licensed campus. Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist will be able to develop "no more than 12 unlicensed observation beds, two procedure rooms, 20 emergency department bays, two fixed CT scanners, one general radiology X-ray unit, one fluoroscopy X-ray unit, two ultrasound units, one SPECT scanner, one mammography unit and one fixed MRI," the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The move has been opposed by Greensboro-based Cone Health and Winston-Salem-based Novant Health. Cone Health's CEO expressed concern about whether the hospital was aimed at improved patient access or boosting profit margins.

Cone Health said in an Aug. 9 statement that the hospital plans to appeal the decision.

"This is a poor decision for everyone needing health care in this area," Cone Health CEO Mary Jo Cagle, MD, said in the release. "This community doesn't need a very expensive facility duplicating most of the same services offered by a Cone Health facility just two miles away. Cone Health is already the lower-cost provider. Our quality is already top tier. People in our community already have options when it comes to health care. This decision runs counter to how CON is supposed to work."

"We are pleased with the state'’s decision and we are eager to move forward, but out of respect for the process, we are reserving additional comment at this time," a spokesperson for Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist told Becker's on Aug. 9.

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