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State denies Rowan Regional's request

Updated: 6:45 p.m.

By Kathy Chaffin

Salisbury Post

State officials announced their decision this afternoon to deny the certificate of need application for the proposed Rowan Regional South.

Just hours before the denial was announced, officials with Rowan Regional Medical Center and Novant Health filed an appeal of the Certificate of Need Section’s Feb. 28 decision to grant the application by Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast for a freestanding emergency department.

The $17.2 million facility would be built on Lane Street near Interstate 85, a few miles from the proposed Moose Road site for the $107 million community hospital.

Michael C. Burton, director of corporate communications for Rowan Regional, said officials there were very disappointed with the denial. “We had a strong application,” he said, “and southern Rowan County — the residents of Landis, China Grove and Kannapolis — need and deserve and want a full-service community hospital.”

Marcia Meredith, spokeswoman for Novant Health, also expressed disappointment at the decision. Though the applicants have not yet had a chance to review the findings, she said an appeal is likely.

Carol L. Hutchison, project analyst for the Certificate of Need Section of the N.C. Division of Health Services Regulation, would not comment on reasons for the decision this afternoon, saying they have five working days to submit the report of the findings to applicants.

Burton said the appeal of the Certificate of Need’s approval of the freestanding emergency department was based on concerns raised by Novant officials at the Dec. 19 public hearing on the application.

Dr. Celia Entwistle, emergency physician at Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville, for example, said a freestanding emergency department would put patients with such critical conditions as acute airway obstructions and ruptured spleens at risk because of the time it would take to transfer them to a hospital or medical center for surgery.

Mark Nantz, president of CMC-NorthEast, said officials there were pleased with the state’s decision to deny the certificate of need application for a community hospital in southern Rowan, but very disappointed in the appeal by Rowan Regional and Novant.

The freestanding emergeny department would provide essential services for the people of southern Rowan and northern Cabarrus/Kannapolis, he said, “and we want to be able to provide them as soon as possible.”

“For another health care system to hold the people hostage from essential services,” he said, “we don’t think that’s the way we should go about fulfilling our responsibilities to the community.”

CMC-NorthEast filed its application for the freestanding emergency department with the Certificate of Need Section on Sept. 18. Rowan Regional and Novant filed the application for a 50-bed community hospital in southern Rowan on Oct. 15.


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