Floyd Medical Center has lost its appeal of a Department of Community Health decision to deny the hospital a certificate of need to provide open heart surgical services.

The decision comes after 19 days of hearings on the appeal between mid-December 2018 and the last week of February this year.

It took hearing officer William Joy almost six months following the final hearing to confirm the original DCH decision to deny the service.

FMC President Kurt Stuenkel said he was not completely surprised by the decision.

“We continue to believe in the merits of our application to provide open heart surgery at Floyd Medical Center and we will keep moving forward with our appeal,” Stuenkel said.

The application was originally denied on June 25, 2018, along with similar applications from Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton and Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton. Both Hamilton and Tanner lost their appeals as well.

Redmond Regional Medical Center, which has provided open heart services for over 20 years, objected to FMC being permitted to start up an open heart program while WellStar Kennestone Hospital filed an objection to the Tanner application.

The FMC project would have involved 6,400 square feet of new construction, 5,450 square feet of renovated space, and approximately two dozen new employees, all which would have cost $16.6 million.

FMC’s appeal was based on a number of factors including a claim that the needs of lower income and African-American demographic groups are not being adequately served by the Redmond program.

FMC also argued that Redmond’s average charge was well above the state average, however the original rejection of the service ruling stated there was no evidence to show that Redmond had denied open heart services to anyone based on their ability to pay.

FMC is also asking the courts to intervene in a decision by the Department of Community Health, and upheld on appeal, to allow Redmond to move forward with the start up of an obstetrics unit.

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