The Monroe County Hospital Authority is asking a judge to overturn a decision that cleared the way for Medical Center, Navicent Health, to open a diagnostic imaging facility in Forsyth.
The county hospital, located less than a mile from the imaging center, “relies heavily” on revenue from imaging services to offset costs for providing care to patients who can’t pay their medical bills, according to the petition requesting a review by a Monroe County Superior Court judge.
The hospital estimates the competing imaging center will cause a loss of $2 million annually, nearly 10 percent of the hospital’s gross patient services revenue, according to the petition.
In 2013, the Medical Center requested approval from the state’s Department of Community Health to open a diagnostic imaging suite at the Monroe Regional Medical Complex, Ken Banks, chief legal counsel for the Medical Center, said in a statement.
The department granted initial approval, which was later affirmed in two levels of administrative review, he said.
The imaging center, located on North Lee Street, opened Dec. 11, 2014.
Monroe County Hospital argues the Medical Center hasn’t received a certificate of need that it contends is required by Georgia’s Health Planning Act, according to the petition filed last month.
The act requires the Department of Community Health to implement a review process for new institutional health services, including an application process. Along with keeping health care cost-effective, the law’s purpose is to avoid unnecessary duplication of services, according to the petition.
The hospital argues the department made incorrect rulings that led to it granting a request by the Medical Center and issuing a letter of non-reviewability for its diagnostic imaging equipment purchase.
In response to a prior administrative appeal, lawyers for the Medical Center wrote that the CT scanner purchased for $419,699 is far below the $1.12 million threshold that requires a certificate of need, and the property cost shouldn’t be included.
A hearing date has not been set in the case.
Banks said the Medical Center “will continue to defend its right to provide needed health care services in this central Georgia community.”
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.